The New York Mets lost to the San Diego Padres in Wild Card round of the 2022 MLB Postseason. In the opinion of many in the media, the loss was a team failure. They didn’t take advantage of their opportunities. Their big hitters didn’t deliver at crunch time. The Mets vaunted pitching staff wasn't as good as we were led to believe. The team choked. Deal with it, Mets fans., and get over yourself.
Then a funny thing happened when the Dodgers and Braves both lost in the NLDS. Suddenly, the sky is falling. Pundits and fans alike cry that any playoff system where two 100+ win teams can be eliminated this early can’t be fair. The Mets were a 100+ win team as well, but I digress. The system has failed and must be replaced immediately. It makes the regular season irrelevant. We deserve to win. The agony, the weeping and the gnashing of teeth.
What can be done to fix the problem the Mets faced in the postseason?
1. Nothing. The new playoff system is here to stay. Major League baseball has found a new income stream by expanding the Wild Card round. Granted, when early games run late you may have to go looking for your team playing on QVC or C-Span2, but it’s a small price to pay for MLB money. The Mets will have to live with being a 101 win Wild Card team. Don't like it? Win more games.
2. Change it. Maybe a best of five NLDS isn’t really fair to the teams involved. Let’s make it a best of seven series. Let’s make every round a best of seven series. Let them keep playing until the Dodgers win and give everyone a participation trophy. Anything can happen in a short series. Write that down.
3. Return to the old system. The Braves won only 86 games last year and won the World Series while the Dodgers were a 106 win one and done wild card. If this is all you want why are we even having this discussion? The Mets were a Wild Card in 2016 and were gone so fast, sometimes I forget they made the postseason.
4. Tweak it. By reseeding after every round, the best teams would always play the weakest teams by playing the lowest ranked opponent. This sounds nice but probably won’t make much of a difference. The Phillies just sent the 101 win Braves home. The Mets probably wouldn't have done much better.
5. Overhaul it. Because of the new balanced schedule, reseed the whole bracket by team record. Divisions and leagues and may lose much of their identities as baseball attempts to bring parity.
What will be done about it?
While all of these ideas have some merit, don’t expect a change anytime soon. Have you ever heard of MLB giving back or turning down money? It's here, like it or noe. Baseball will have to deal with expansion and possible team relocation among other things in the very near future. In this brave new world of pitch clocks, ghost runners, bigger bases, and smaller infield shifts, baseball will most likely choose to leave this one alone.
The New York Mets won only 82 games in 1973 but got past a 94 win Cincinnati Reds team and took a 99 win Oakland A's team all the way to game seven of the World Series. Anything can happen in a short series and it probably will.
Just as long as the check clears