These past few weeks, we’ve seen baseball at its lowest point since the Barry Bonds steroids incident and the Pete Rose managing and betting issue. Not only with the new Astros cheating issues, but it seems that the “major league” aspect of baseball may be seeing some changes in the next couple of years.
Recently, Commissioner Rob Manfred of Major League Baseball proposed many changes to the league’s postseason. Those changes include expanding the current five-team playoff field to seven teams for both the National and American League, as well as a complete canning of the current Wild Card series with a proposed “best-of-three” series, all three hosted by the higher seeded teams. While that does sound like an interesting change, baseball doesn’t need a “reality-show” type of postseason.
As for other changes that are going into effect this season, the roster limiting rule change means an increase to a twenty-six-man roster, small rosters in September, a two-way player designation (someone who hits and pitches), position players that can only pitch in extra innings or if their team is winning or losing by more than six runs and lastly, the twenty-seventh man rule, which is the extra player that is called up if necessary. Other changes for this year include the return to the fifteen-day injured list and the new twenty-second challenge time for managers if they want to review a play. Overall, Commissioner Manfred has made plenty of changes these past few years, and that is showing as of this season.
As far as the postseason changes come, they will only be put in place if the players vote in a majority for such to happen. However, no matter what happens, the sport of baseball once again does not need all these changes to its postseason system and others. If this rule gets put in place, it can give a significant advantage to the higher seeded teams and can give them a “pick and choose” system, which will only bring mediocre teams into the fold, and makes it an easier path for those teams of higher caliber to the World Series title.
Manfred has not been the most-liked commissioner either, with fans repeatedly expressing their disdain for the MLB’s handling of the Astros’ situation and with the proposed postseason overhaul.
The MLB postseason has always been a national tradition with the coined “October Baseball” phrase, as well as the World Series being one of the year’s most-watched sports events. If one were to mess with that, the viewership and fans of baseball would not like it. Baseball is a fantastic sport even though it may not be as popular as it once was. The game shouldn’t be messed with, as it has stood the test of time for 117 years. With that, I say once again to the MLB, please do not change the sport’s most prized part of the year. Who knows where these changes for this year and the proposed ones for the future will lead the MLB, but it’s certainly something to keep an eye out for.
Jeffrey Babcock is a third-year student majoring in communications and minoring in journalism. JB884128@wcupa.edu