The 2020 Major League Baseball season is on indefinite hiatus because of the threat that is the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Spring training was shut down in March and Opening Day has been pushed back indefinitely. When will baseball return? No one knows for sure, though MLB and the MLBPA are making progress on a return to play plan.
Between now and Opening Day my fellow CBS Sports MLB scribes and I will bring you a weekly roundtable breaking down, well, pretty much anything. The latest news, a historical question, thoughts about the future of baseball, all sorts of stuff. Last week we discussed the number of games we expect MLB to play in 2020. This week we're going to tackle our ideal postseason size.
What is your ideal number of postseason teams this year and going forward?
R.J. Anderson: I'm fine with 16 this year, but heading forward I would prefer to keep the postseason as exclusive as possible. If you start letting everyone in, there's less incentive for teams to actually try. We're not going to put the paste back into the tube, so I guess the ideal number is the same as it is in a normal season: 10.
Mike Axisa: Totally cool with 16 postseason teams this year. This season will be unlike any other season in baseball history -- there is no reason to pretend it'll be anything close to a normal season -- so it's a good opportunity for MLB to step outside its comfort zone and try new things. The 16-team postseason will be more fair after a short regular season -- the shorter the season, the more small sample size noise can wreak havoc on the standings -- and it'll give everyone more baseball. A win-win.
Going forward, I strongly prefer a 10-team postseason field. The Wild Card Game is a blast and it's a good thing for baseball overall. Can't beat starting the postseason with two Game 7s. With a 162-game regular season though, I don't like a 14-team or 16-team postseason format at all. The 162-game season separates contenders from pretenders, and the more teams you let into the dance, the less those 162 games matter. I'm cool with 16 teams this year and this year only.
Dayn Perry: Yeah I'm cool with 16 teams this year because why not. Going forward, though, I'd prefer to revert back to the 14-team plan. I don't mind expanding the pool of wild card teams, and what I liked about the 14-team format is that there's a major benefit to having the best record in each league (that first-round bye). That's what I'd like to see moving forward.
Matt Snyder: For this season, I'm embracing all kinds of madness and I'm perfectly OK with 16 teams in October. Moving forward, I'd prefer to keep the format from the last several years, only making the Wild Card Game into a three-game series. There's no evidence that sitting around for a few extra days makes a team totally forget how to win, so the No. 1 seeds would be fine and we'd get a better result than a one-game playoff that could be all kinds of fluky.
Katherine Acquavella: This season will be unlike anything in MLB before so if anything, it can be used as a good test run for a variety of changes, including the 16-team playoff format. I'm for expanded playoffs (minus the proposed gimmick-y ideas like choosing an opponent on TV), but I think the ideal number of postseason teams going forward is 14, with the addition of just two more wild card spots. In the 14-team playoff expansion, the wild card clubs would host a best-of-three series against each other, which I think fits baseball's postseason better. While the win-or-go-home game is exciting, it always seemed a bit weird to play 162 games and then have just one game to decide your postseason future.