Monday, October 8, 2007

Are MLB Playoff Series Too Short?

Baseball is a game of attrition. The marathon season is a 162 game grind, and still the pennant race is a toughly fought battle down to the very last game. It's a fickle game that can see the best of teams go through a dire stretch, and the worst of teams, like say my Pittsburgh Pirates, steal a regular season series from serious contenders. So when it comes time for the post season, are 5-game series, or even 7-game series, too short?

The NFL season is 16 games long, with the playoffs a one game elimination. So the ratio for a playoff series is 16:1. Therefore a playoff match-up is 6% of the season. In hockey, it's an 82 game season to a 7-game series. 82:7, or about 8%. But the MLB post season 5-game series is a mere 5:162, or 3%. Which is the equivalent of having an NFL playoff game decided by only one half. Can such a short series really guarantee the best teams advancing, and eventually winning the World Series?

The World Series hasn't always been a 7-game series. For a short while they toyed with a 9 game series, but that was over 80 years ago. However, with twice as many teams advancing to the playoffs thanks to the 6 division alignment and the wild card, is it time for Major League Baseball to adopt longer playoff series?

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