Are MLB Seasons Too Long?
Are MLB Seasons Too Long? | Sports Takes & News | TooAthletic.com
Major League Baseball has long prided itself on being an annual marathon that allowed teams to decide who were the best during their 162-game season. With the addition of Wild-Cards and three divisions in each league, the increased number of playoff berths was supposed to ensure that every game mattered, and drama would ensue throughout the regular season. Yet, in 2021, with so many teams seemingly disinterested in competing as we have reached the All-Star break, many teams already seem to be eliminated from postseason contention, making for a long summer for baseball fans in many cities across the country … and it’s also proving that MLB seasons are too long.
According to FanGraphs.com, we already know who will be in the 2021 MLB Postseason in the National League with the three division leaders (Brewers, Dodgers and Mets) along with the teams with the current Wild-Card holders (Padres and Giants) all being given at least an 89% chance of making the playoffs.
Things are slightly more “wide open” in the American League if you are fighting for the AL East title or a Wild-Card spot. That’s because the Red Sox (90%) and Rays (70%) are both given the best chances of earning a playoff berth at the All-Star break, with the Yankees (45%) and Blue Jays (33%) struggling to still call themselves contenders. In the Central and West, the White Sox and Astros are each giving at least a 95% chance of being crowned champions, with only one other team, the Oakland A’s, being giving a 44% chance of earning a Wild-Card spot. Thus, leaving the rest of American League already looking toward 2022.
The length of the Major League Baseball season is becoming as big of an issue as the time it takes to play nine-inning games nowadays. That’s because most teams have not played 90-games, yet a lot them are no longer considered playoff contenders, and for the next few weeks will turn to the trade market where they will be called “sellers” to those who are.
The justification for adding the first Wild-Card teams in 1995 and then a second one in 2012 was to make games in September count, and still be a relevant sport in September when the NFL was beginning their season. With so few teams in the race with 70+ games left in the season, Major League Baseball is having a difficult time having games in July and August mean much to fans, with September being all about playoff seeding and setting up postseason matchups or winning that year’s major awards.
As someone who has loved baseball all my life, the current state of the game is difficult to watch in so many ways. Hitters only want home runs and strikeouts are too accepted as batters would rather hit into a shift rather than go the other way to reach base. Starting pitchers rarely see the mound after six innings and when they throw more than 100 pitches they are considered “heroes.”
I have very little reason to watch or follow too many games live once teams return from the All-Star break since we almost know who will be playing in October, something we shouldn’t know in mid-July. I have said it before and will say it again that Major League Baseball should split the season into two with playoff berths given to the division winners from the first and second halves, and if the same team wins in the spring and summer, they earn a postseason bye.
Major League Baseball needs to shorten the season or split it in half, because if the sport is comfortable with seven-inning games counting equally as nine-inning affairs, then playing a shorter split season should be enough to make it enough money and provide more fans hope that when October comes, they will be involved. Otherwise, for most of America the 2021 MLB season is already over, and once their vacations are over, it will be time for football.
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Are MLB Seasons Too Long? | TooAthletic.com