ESPN reporter Marly Rivera is reporting that the Players Union has come to an agreement with Major League Baseball to expand the playoffs to 16 teams. The news comes just four hours before the deadline and will reportedly “only affect the 2020 postseason”.
The union has approved the agreement discussed with MLB for expanded playoffs, only for the 2020 postseason; that agreement is now subject only to ratification by the owners, sources tell ESPN. https://t.co/HFmaEQ8Npk— Marly Rivera (@MarlyRiveraESPN) July 23, 2020
The expansion of MLB playoffs should bring a smile to the faces of small market teams and franchises like the Seattle Mariners, which hasn’t participated in the postseason since 2001. Ratings have continued to trend downward as owner’s pockets get deeper; so making a change that helps shoddy ownership reach the postseason seems like a solid move.
Winning and attendance usually go hand in hand, so helping the fringe teams reach the playoffs is likely to create a winning illusion. The powerhouses of Major League Baseball will now hand select their first round opponent, while the fringe teams hall pass to the big stage to make life for the Yankees and Dodgers easier.
Ratings should improve after the COVID delay, but the effect of expanding MLB playoffs remains to be seen.
Interesting wrinkle in the 16-team playoff format: All second-place teams in the six divisions qualify. Then the 7th and 8th teams will be chosen by best record among other teams.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 23, 2020