Friday, May 18, 2012

MLB Approves 2-3 Wild Card Format..Huh?

The MLB and its owners have approved a 2-3 Division Round format that will give the Wild Card 1-game playoff winner the first two games at their ballpark. It is said that this was approved to eliminate one travel day and that this will only take place this postseason, as it will revert back to the 2-2-1 format next year. But come on, seriously? A team wins 90+ games and then has to wait until a 1-game playoff game is over to know where they will travel to and potentially face a team that barely finished over .500 (‘im looking at the NL here)? But more importantly, is there even such a thing as home field advantage in baseball?

Since 2007, the Home team in the playoffs is 90-70. Clearly there is such thing as Home Field Advantage in the MLB.

Home team record since 2007:
  • 2011: 23-15
  • 2010: 13-19
  • 2009: 19-11
  • 2008: 18-14
  • 2007: 17-11
The 2007 playoffs featured 3 sweeps and one 4 game series in its divisional rounds. 8 times the home team won the game to just 5 road wins. The League Championship series proved the same as home teams went 7-4. The Boston Red Sox swept the Colorado Rockies in the World Series that year so the Home Team record was just 2-2. Home teams went 9-5 in the first two games of series.

The 2008 playoffs saw three series go 4 games while just the Los Angeles Dodgers swept their way to the NLCS. The home teams went 8-7. In the ALCS, the Red Sox beat the Rays in 7 games, with the home teams winnings just 3 of the 7 games. Over in the National League the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in 5 games, winning the first two games in Philly before takings 2 of 3 in LA. In the World Series, Philadelphia won all 3 games, after splitting the first two games in Tampa Bay.

In 2009, the first round had 3 sweeps a 4 game set, just at 2007 did, but this time the home teams were just 7-6. However, it was the Championship series that proved playing at home has its advantages, as home teams of the two series went 9-2. That year in the World Series, the New York Yankees and the Phillies each hosted 3 WS games in their home ballparks. The Yankees won 2 of 3 while the Phillies lost 2 of 3.

2010 provided a 5 game first round series between the Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers in which the home team lost each time. The other 3 series compiled 10 games and the home teams won just 4, leaving home teams with a 4-11 record in the Divisional Round that year. In the League Championships, each series went 6 games and each series saw 3-3 records for home teams. The Ranger-Giants World Series had the home team win the first 3 games, before the Giants won back to back games in Arlington, winning the WS. Clearly 2010 was an anomaly.

Last postseason had 3 of the 4 Division Round series go the distance. In the Milwaukee Brewers – Arizona Diamondbacks series, the home team won each of the 5 games. In the other two series the home team went just 2-3. Texas and Tampa had just 1 home win in their 4 game series. Home teams were 10-9. The NLDS went 6 games and the Cardinals won 2 of their 3 home games, while the Brewers got just 1 home win. Over in the American League, the Rangers won all 3 home games, while the Tigers just got a single victory in the Motor City. The World Series went to a game 7 as the home teams won 5 times, including the last 4 games.

It just amazes me that this was ever up for discussion. I understand it is just a one time thing and it might not make any difference when all is said and done, but I can gaurantee that the best teams in each league would prefer one more travel day over 2 road games to start a series. After all, that is who is most affected by this format change…the team that proved all season long that they were the best in their respective leagues, and this is how the MLB rewards them.

See the original story and more at The Sports Chronicles

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