It has just been brought to my attention that Major League Baseball has added two more wild-card playoff teams, effective this season.
(I realize this is old news to many of you, but I just found out because I’m not “connected” 24-7 like the rest of the web-wide world. These days, if Tiger Woods sneezes, 13 Golf Channel talking heads analyze how blowing his nose affects his backswing and ESPN runs a “Gesundheit Tiger — is it a summer cold or is it hay fever?” news crawl for 19 consecutive hours. This whole connectivity business, frankly, creates unneeded stress and shortens the lifespan. Not that I’m looking to stick around for 100 years or more — not with the traffic I’m staring at right now — but it would be nice to get from lunch to dinner without hearing about some jock calling out some other jock on Twitter, and it would be even nicer to simply lay on the beach on vacation without the cellphone ringing so my cousin Joey can tell me he just saw “The Amazing Spider-Man” and it’s worth the long line. I’ll be honest with you — and I know this is somewhat politically incorrect — but I’m in favor of obesity, because the more people are eating and drinking, the less they are talking and tweeting; I’d rather live in a sugar-high society with everyone 40 pounds overweight than a sugar-free one with everyone shouting about the Red Sox manager.)
Where were we? Oh yeah, baseball.
Here is a quick primer on baseball postseason history:
Starting in 1903, the American League and National League champions met in the World Series.
In 1969, each league was divided into two divisions, creating a total of four playoff teams.
In 1994, each league was divided into three divisions, with a wild card added, for eight playoff teams.
And, now in 2012, we will have two wild cards per league, getting us to 10 teams in postseason.
We all know where this is leading — eventually, as in the NHL and NBA, at least half of each league will make it to the playoffs, and by 2525, even a Japanese league team will be included, which is only appropriate, because we’re talking about the World Series.
Unlike most baseball purists, Couch Slouch actually is in favor of an inflated playoff field. Postseason baseball is riveting. Regular-season baseball is like shopping at Kohl’s on a Saturday — you’re not sure why all the people are there and you can’t figure out why you are there.
So I am here today to propose an extreme, expanded postseason. It involves shortening the regular season. The 162-game regular season is so 20th century, anyway; who can watch an early spring Padres-Rockies game?
I say let ’em all into the postseason — all 30 teams are playoff-bound! This is how we do it:
We shorten the regular season to 58 games; every team plays every other team twice. Done. That takes care of April and May.
June 1: Playoffs!
(Of course, with a 58-game schedule, I assume Barry Bonds’s single-season home run mark of 73 is safe, unless the pharmaceutical industry can provide Barry Bonds Jr. with a bigger body than his dad and he starts knocking out one or two dingers a game every night.)
To give the regular season a little meaning, each league champion gets a bye. The other 28 teams, seeded 1 to 28 by record, play a best-of-seven series; winners of that opening round, along with the league champions, move on to the round of 16. And so on.
Each series would last three weeks, which means you play a game every three or four days. This would allow a team like the Yankees to finally cut payroll and set up its rotation so that CC Sabathia pitches every game of the postseason.
Then you would take a week or two off before the World Series, like the NFL does with the Super Bowl.
We’re talking two months for the regular season and four months for the postseason, so you’re done by the end of September. Wa-lah!
And best of all, for long-suffering Pittsburgh fans — the Pirates are GUARANTEED to make the playoffs!
If Bob Costas doesn’t come aboard on this whole concept ASAP, I’ll just assume his mind and body were snatched by aliens.
Q. What’s worse, wearing sunglasses while playing poker, or wearing sunglasses while proposing marriage? (Tom Barrett; Alexandria)
A. Wearing sunglasses while playing poker — you need to have your eyes wide open when entering a no-limit hold ’em pot.
Q. You’re a Clippers fan: Isn’t Lamar Odom damaged goods? (David Armstrong; Milwaukee)
A. The beauty of this deal is the “non-Kardashian clause” — Lamar’s got to leave Khloe by the start of the 2012-13 regular season.
Q. While watching the Tour de France, it occurred to me that it would probably be easier if they went downhill occasionally. (Ronnie Bancs; Willoughby, Ohio)
A. This is “Ask The Slouch,” buddy; next time put your comment in the form of a question. But pay the man anyway, Shirley.
You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!