- Senior writer ESPN Magazine/ESPN.com
- Analyst/reporter ESPN television
- Author of “The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty”
When MLB commissioner Rob Manfred spoke about the expanded playoff field the other day and the intention to implement it going forward, he probably didn’t mean the 2021 format will be exactly the same as 2020’s — 16 teams, with an initial best-of-three wild-card round.
But the mere suggestion of having the same system in place for 2021 set off an eruption of dissent around the sport.
“Are you kidding me?” asked one evaluator. “What are we doing?”
Whatever format is used next year would have to be negotiated with the MLB Players Association, and as mentioned in a note below, there is grave concern in front offices that baseball might again face a truncated season without fans in the stands. But if spring training can start on time — MLB issued exhibition schedules the other day — and 162 games are played, there will be a lot of sentiment to turn the 2020 playoff arrangement into a one-and-done.
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