With spring training underway throughout Florida and Arizona, new Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred made a major announcement yesterday. After more than a century of the World Series featuring one team from the National League and one team from the American League, the Commissioner revealed a change in the playoff format effective for the 2015 season, so that teams from the same league could potentially meet in the World Series. Manfred said, "We want the best teams to compete for the World Series and revising the playoff format will help accomplish this goal. Seeing a Red Sox-Yankees or a Dodgers-Giants World Series would be amazing. Think of the ratings!" There were unconfirmed reports that Manfred then jumped into a Scrooge McDuck money pit.
The playoffs will still consist of six division winners and two Wild Card teams from each league. The one-game Wild Card round will also remain the same as will the divisional round. The major change occurs once baseball gets to the final four. Instead of an American League Championship Series and a National League Championship Series, the final four teams will be reseeded based on the regular season record. Here's an example of what could occur this season:
AL East Division Winner: Boston Red Sox
AL Central Division Winner: Kansas City Royals
AL West Division Winner: Los Angeles Angels
AL Wild Card Teams: Toronto Blue Jays & Detroit Tigers
NL East Division Winner: Miami Marlins
NL Central Division Winner: Chicago Cubs
NL West Division Winner: Los Angeles Dodgers
NL Wild Card Teams: Washington Nationals & Pittsburgh Pirates (yes again!)
Wild Card round: Pirates & Tigers advance
Angels defeat Tigers
Red Sox defeat Royals
Cubs defeat Pirates
Marlins defeat Dodgers
Still with me here? Now, instead of the two league championship series, this would be the next round based on the regular season record:
Angels (100 regular season wins) vs. Marlins (92)
Cubs (96) vs. Red Sox (98) - Now this would be a fun series!
Of course, there's always a chance that things could backfire. Instead of having the teams with the two best records, you could have a Cubs-Miami World Series.
(Yes, I made this entire thing up just for the Back to the Future II reference. However, would you be surprised if the new Commissioner came up with some type of proposal to change the playoffs?)