By Richard Heaton aka Zanderlex
It is true that baseball is America’s pastime and has been around for well over a hundred years, but there are still quite a few changes that could better influence the MLB as a whole. For example, every few years, the world comes together to take part in the World Baseball Classic (“WBC”). The WBC is a tradition that has been going on for the past eight years and seems to be growing. However, the WBC does seem to be imposing a few challenges on MLB.
One of these challenges is that the WBC takes place during Spring training, a time that is meant for all MLB players to get ready for the upcoming season. Those who are picked to represent their country will now have to miss some of that valuable playing time to play overseas.
Another problem in this sense would be rookies and prospects who are chosen to play in the WBC because Spring training means even more to them than veteran players as it is the time for them to show their worth to the team.
How do we fix this? By moving parts of the WBC to another month, maybe even during All Star week. Imagine having the All Star Futures Game and the Legends Softball Game on Saturday and having the WBC Championship on Sunday, which would then be followed by the Home Run Derby and the All Star Game on Monday and Tuesday.
Maybe we can move both the championship game and the semi finals to All Star week, this would allow all of the players to get a few extra days with their teams before the season starts. If the semi finals are used as well, one semi final matchup would be held Friday afternoon while the second match would be held that evening. The championship match will be played Saturday and then regular All Star week festivities would begin. Not only would this be a great way to help the players stay with their teams longer, but a lot of revenue would be raised.
The finals were played at AT&T park in front of roughly 35,000 fans. That’s not a bad number, but if you squeeze the final three games during the All Star week, a lot more fans would end up watching the game because just by placing it days before the All Star Game, it will feel more energized to the fans.
Another way to Improve the MLB would be to add another team to each League. Each league would now have 16 teams, and would be split into four divisions of four teams each. With fewer teams in each division, the competition would most likely be greater because some divisions may play well and have all four teams within 5-10 games of 1st place.
If there are four divisions, there would really be no need for a wild card spot because each league will now have four playoff spots, one from each division. However, there is a way to keep the five team playoff format that MLB now has, but there will also be a way to have six teams in each league compete in the playoffs.
This will equate to four division leaders and two Wild card teams. The Wild Card series will have each pair of teams play a best of three series. After this, each league will have three teams remaining. During the Division series each team will play each other team once. As an example, let’s say we have the Dodgers, Cardinals, and Braves left.
On Day one, the Dodgers play the Braves and the Cardinals get off. Day two, we see the Cardinals play the Dodgers while the Braves get off. On the final day, the Cardinals play the Braves, and the Dodgers are off. This format will allow all games to be played over the course of three days with each team getting a day off. The two teams with the best record go on to the Championship series. This is where it gets tricky, if all three teams win one game apiece, the team with the worst regular season record will be eliminated and the other two go on to the Championship series. The Championship series will be best of five, and then the World Series will stay as a best of 7 series. Some might say that having these four series will extend the length of the playoffs, but instead it will actually shorten it. This is because the most games that can be played during the current structure is 20 which is from one wild card game, five division games, and seven games for both the Championship series and World Series.
This 12 team playoff structure consists of three game Wild Card, three game Division Series (two per team), five game Championship series, and a seven game World Series for a maximum total of 18 games.
It would also be possible to have the Championship Series stay at seven games and then the playoff structure would also have 20 games.
There are many other ways that the MLB can be improved upon, but these are the biggest two.
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