By Martin Iheke
As the 2012 Major Baseball League regular season comes to a close, we as fans look forward to the postseason, especially if our favorite teams qualify. You all of a sudden pay more attention to keeping track of teams that are in contention for a playoff spot whether if it is for a division title or a wild card spot. It makes for some fun times. What I am not looking forward to is this year’s playoffs format. I do not understand why baseball has to make things so complicated.
The playoffs format for this year concerning the best-of-five division series is set up to where the higher-seeded team plays the first two games on the road and the last three games at home making this a 2-3 format. Normally it would be a 2-2-1 format where the team with the better record gets the first two games at home and the last one of the series, but because there is not any off days, they decided it would be best to go with the 2-3 format. Fortunately, they will go back to the 2-2-1 format next season. The other issue I have with the playoffs format is the winner of the all-star game gets home-field advantage in the World Series. They have been doing this for a decade now and it is really stupid. Why can they not figure out that the team with the better record should have home-field advantage in any series like they do in hockey and basketball? It does not make any sense.
For example, currently the Texas Rangers have the best record in the American League. If the season ended today, they would have to open up on the road for Game 1 against the wild card winner in the division series rather than open up at home. Instead of rewarding the Rangers for their success during the regular season, they are being sort of punished with this format. That is not fair. What if they lose the first two games of the series and now have to win the last three games at home to advance? That is not an easy task. They are not playing the lowly Minnesota Twins or the Cleveland Indians. They will be facing off against a very good team and to win three straight games just to move on is very difficult. This could be another bad break for the Rangers. Now, you will say what if they split the first two games on the road, would they not have home-field advantage the rest of the series only needing to win two of three? Yes that would be good, but the whole point here is there should not be a reason in the first place to have this format that could be a huge disadvantage to the higher-seeded teams.
For the World Series, there was not a bigger example of a team getting the shaft over not having home-field advantage last season than the Rangers. They had a better record than the St. Louis Cardinals by six games, but because the National League won the all-star game, the Cardinals ended up having home-field advantage. Now, you would think they would have enough sense in figuring out that the team with the better record should be rewarded by having home-field. Hockey and basketball do it but not baseball. Would the Rangers have won last year’s World Series if they had home-field advantage like they were supposed to? I believe they would have, but of course I will never know that. What I would like to know is that they fix this by rewarding teams with better records in the regular season home-field advantage sooner rather than later. It is much more logical than the other way around.