Blog Entry

Would expanded playoffs change past results?

Posted on: November 17, 2011 5:29 pm
Edited on: November 17, 2011 6:43 pm

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Commissioner Bud Selig wants one more team in the playoffs as soon as the 2012 season, with the two wild card teams facing off in one game to decide which team moves on to the next round. The idea is to expand the playoffs and at the same time giving division winners an advantage over a team that doesn't win its division.

Not only does the extra team mean there's more playoffs, but the wild card teams will have to juggle their rotation to try to get their best pitcher pitch in the one-game playoff.


American League: No baseball fan will forget watching Game 162 for the Rays and Red Sox -- a once-in-a-lifetime finish to the regular season that wouldn't happen under the new format. Of course, it was there only because of the wild card -- something that many people were against when Selig first introduced it. There will still be fantastic finishes -- just not one exactly like there was this year. Not that I was expecting to see anything like that ever again. If the new format eliminates the rule barring teams from the same division playing in the first round, the first-round match ups would have been different, with the Tigers and Rangers meeting in the divisional series instead of the ALCS.

National League: The Cardinals and Braves would have faced off in the one-game playoff, with the winner going on the face the Phillies. Chris Carpenter wouldn't have had to pitch the final game of the regular season and could have been held back for the wild card game.

What would have changed? Maybe Terry Francona would still have a job, but other than that, who knows? The Cardinals wouldn't have had Carpenter for the wild card game, but if they were indeed a team of destiny, who's to say they don't go on and win the whole thing? The American League is a tossup, really, it's tough to say exactly what would have happened.


American League: The Red Sox beat out the White Sox for the second playoff spot and set up yet another Yankees-Red Sox showdown in the one-game wild card.

National League: Atlanta and San Diego would face off for the right to face the seemingly unbeatable Phillies, while the Giants and Reds would have met in the other division series.

What would have changed? Instead of facing the Yankees, the Twins would get the Rangers, but the result probably wouldn't have changed. As for the National League, San Diego was reeling at the end of the season and probably wouldn't have challenged the Braves. However, the Phillies wouldn't have played the Reds in the first round and we wouldn't have gotten Roy Halladay's no-hitter. Or maybe we would have, the Reds had the National League's best offense, so maybe the opponent didn't matter that day.


American League: Instead of just one one-game playoff in the AL, in 2009 there would have been two. Boston and Texas would have been the two wild card teams, but both teams had better records than the Twins and Tigers, who met in a one-game playoff to determine the American League Central champ.

National League: The AL East isn't the only division that can squeeze three teams into the playoffs -- the Rockies and Giants would face each other for the right to play the Dodgers in the NLDS.

What would have changed? Probably little, the Yankees and Phillies would likely face off in the World Series no matter what other teams were in the mix.


American League: The Twins would have been the extra wild card team, facing the 95-win Red Sox for the right to face the Angels

National League: The Brewers and Mets would have had to face off in the wild card game, with the winner getting the 97-win Cubs, while Philadelphia would face Los Angeles in the NLDS instead of the Cubs.

What would have changed? The Red Sox beat the Angels 3-1 in the ALDS, so it's not a stretch to see Boston burning a pitcher and still beating the Angels in that series. The Phillies likely would have gone on to the World Series, but the Cubs may have had a better shot to advance to the NLCS and break some more hearts by failing to reach the World Series.


American League: One one-game playoff not good enough for you? How about a playoff for the playoff? The 94-win Yankees would have to wait a day to see who they'd play in the wild card game, as Seattle and Detroit both finished 88-74.

National League: This time we have a pretty good idea what it would look like -- the Rockies and Padres would face off in a one-game playoff, just as they did anyway. A 13-inning thriller, the Rockies beat the Padres to advance to the NLDS. But instead of playing the Phillies in the first round, the Rockies would have faced the Diamondbacks, who had the best record in the National League with 90 wins.

What would have changed? Probably not too much -- every series was a sweep, meaning the best teams were more or less identified.

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Since: Sep 2, 2008
Posted on: March 1, 2012 2:52 pm

Would expanded playoffs change past results?

That is a stupid question.  Like saying if someone didn't stop breathing would they still be alive.
Any team that won could have lost, period, and that's as much change of results as you could get.
Pitchers wins or loses wouldn't ever have happened, HR's that were hit wouldn't have happened, matchups would have been different or never happened.
If there were only 3 balls for a walk, would that change any past results?

Since: May 6, 2011
Posted on: January 29, 2012 7:30 pm

Would expanded playoffs change past results?

If Selig really wants to expand the playoffs, why not have have the same format as the NFL, 6 teams in each league, 2 teams with a bye. The 4 lower seeds of each division play a 3 game series, and the winners move on to the league championship series to face the 2 teams that had a bye.

Since: Mar 29, 2009
Posted on: November 18, 2011 12:27 pm

Would expanded playoffs change past results?

I just thought of something that would probably come up at some point with the new format. If teams have to play a 1 game playoff to see who wins the division, like Twins and Tigers did in 2009, the loser could still have a good enough record to be 1 of the 2 wild card teams. So they would then have to play another 1 game playoff to get to the DS. This seems like they are at a huge disadvantage going into the "regular" playoffs probably using their best 2 pitchers for the earlier playoff games. Another thing, after 162 games, it is decided on 1 single game who advances? All year long there are series' being played and playoffs should be no different. At least make it a 3 game series for the wild card teams. But again this is a huge disadvantage since you're playing more games then your next opponent. I end up arguing with myself, but I see both sides which should have been thought out and discussed.

Since: Jun 13, 2007
Posted on: November 18, 2011 3:42 am

Would expanded playoffs change past results?

The future does find new ideas for drama.  Before the change over from two divisions in each league in 1993 to the current three divisions alignment, it was thought the Braves-Giants pennant chase was the greatest of all time.  Going into game 162, both teams were tied a WL record of 103-58.  The Giants would only needed to finish a four game sweep of the Dodgers in Chavez Ravine, a feat the Giant franchise had never accomplished before, to force a one game playoff with the Braves.  It was too bad that the Giants and Braves finished their season series on Sept 2, 1993, a whole month before the regular season ended.  A head to head match up would have had more drama, but the scoreboards watching must have been unbearable for each of the teams.  Before the final game of the season, the Giants were 16-2 during this eighteen game stretch and the Braves were 13-5.  THis season 18 tears later we saw two team collapse a team in each league to lose their once solid wild card spot.  Bseball will always find a new way to hold outr attention through out the last month of the season. 

Since: Jun 3, 2010
Posted on: November 17, 2011 7:11 pm

Would expanded playoffs change past results?

That's not correct, The Don Rey. Under the new format, that rule you mention goes out the window. Trent noted that in the intro.

Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: November 17, 2011 7:05 pm

Would expanded playoffs change past results?

Rosencrans you're wrong about the 2007 NL format. If the Rockies beat the Padres in the wild card they wouldn't face the Diamondbacks because the wild card doesn't play their division winner in the first round of the playoffs.

Come on dude get it right!

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