There’s a new ridiculous narrative bubbling in the sports world. This new one, is that the MLB playoffs are flawed. More specifically, MLB fans are claiming that the current format is advantageous to the teams that without a bye.
I must say that I truly believe this argument is in response to the Phillies going up on the Braves in game one. That being said, I’ve saturated this site with enough Red October content recently, so I will keep this about the league as a whole.
After the Braves, Dodgers, and Orioles all lost their first game of their playoffs after coming off of a bye, fans determined that the underdogs had an advantage. The argument is that the top two seeds of each league are rusty after their five-day rest period at the start of the playoffs. To me, this is convenient excuse for some teams that have underperformed to start the playoffs.
First of all, the Orioles are the youngest team in baseball. As talented as they are, the Rangers were atop the standings all year, and are built better for the postseason. Them jumping out to a 2-0 lead proves nothing.
The next culprit are the Dodgers. They smacked a bunch of home runs then hobbled to the playoffs as their entire rotation got injured or arrested. In the first game, their elderly ace with a less-than-stellar playoff track record got shelled. Let’s not act like the Diamondbacks winning that game was a Rudy-esque comeback.
The final example is the Braves. In a game between rivals, the Braves struck out a ton, and let the Phillies steal five bases. Then, they bounced back and won an instant classic game two of the NLDS. They are proof that a break doesn’t remove a team’s ability to mash a baseball.
All of these examples prove something great. The MLB playoffs are built for any team to get hot and go on a run. Teams play 162 games to determine the order for the playoffs, and then you need to win eleven or thirteen games to win a championship. It demonstrates the sheer desperation of each team, and makes it more interesting to follow than any other postseason.
To ditch this format because it demonstrates the best part of the sport is a terrible idea. I’m not stating my opinion on that subject, I’m stating a fact. Call me biased, but I watched the Phillies do exactly what the Dodgers are doing for years as a kid, and it brought me tears most years. It’s the tough part of sports, and fans who complain about it should find a more productive use of their time such as writing thousand word Letterboxd reviews that their friends don’t even read.