Reducing The Length Of The MLB Season Is A No-Brainer
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has started to make noises about reducing the length of the regular season in the next collective bargaining agreement. There is only suggestion on the table and it’s to scale the season back to 154 games, the length used in both leagues until 1961.
The American League went to 162 that year and the National League followed a year later. Going back to 154 is not only a welcome idea, it’s a no-brainer and should be used as a way of expanding postseason play.
Let’s begin with the obvious—baseball can’t compete with the NFL and even college football, particularly in a final week of the regular season where more than half the teams are playing completely meaningless games and only a handful are really playing do-or-die baseball. I can’t imagine too much revenue is going to be lost by giving up these games.
Creating an extra week-plus will also allow MLB to make some helpful changes to the playoff format. The first thing I would like to see is for the Division Series round to go best-of-seven. This round has too much of a “lightning round” quality about it, where it seems luck plays an outsized role.
I’m not saying it’s a “crapshoot”, as Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane once did, in an attempt to explain his teams’ repeated failures in LDS play—you don’t see a lot of truly shocking upsets–but the best-of-seven is the truer test of pitching depth and allows luck to balance out.
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