Here's why we love the expanded playoffs

July 24th, 2020

Here’s what expanding Major League Baseball’s postseason field from 10 to 16 teams means: more opportunity, more tension, more possibilities. Because it’ll begin with eight best-of-three series, pressure is cranked up from the start.

About those added opportunities: Doesn’t every baseball fan deserve a chance to enjoy on his sport’s biggest stage?

We already felt reasonably confident about seeing and and in October as part of the Dodgers, Yankees and Astros. Now, a larger postseason field stage means more teams, more stars and more on the line in the regular season.

What if a dark horse team gets hot, slips into the playoffs and rides a wave into the World Series? I’m looking at you, . This is why the D-backs wanted you.

The top two finishers in each division will make the playoffs, plus the two teams with the next best record in each league. , come on down. If your Blue Jays make the postseason, it’ll set the stage for one of the most satisfying seasons any team has ever had.

That goes for you, . And , and . Things just got more interesting for all of you.

Funny how the timing worked out. The 60-game regular season prompted outside-the-box thinking in terms of rules, schedules, etc. So in the spirit of "let’s give it a try," a 16-team postseason was born.

In this case, that’s particularly appropriate this season when almost every team believes it is good enough to make the playoffs. Check out the Reds, Phillies, Padres, Blue Jays, White Sox, Rangers and Angels.

All of them worked furiously to get better the last couple of offseasons, and all of them might have been postseason long shots in a traditional playoff field.

The Padres are interesting in lots of ways. If you haven’t seen the left side of their infield -- Machado and -- you’re in for a treat. How about all three Southern California teams in the playoffs? Or both Chicago teams? Or the Astros and Rangers in a Lone Star matchup 48 years in the making?

has constructed a Hall of Fame résumé during 13 seasons with the Reds. But he has played only nine postseason games. We’ve suddenly got a better chance to see this guy’s brilliance in a postseason setting.

The Indians and White Sox may not finish in front of the Twins, but their opportunity has never been better. That’s why expanding the postseason field makes sense.

The Dodgers and Yankees will remain World Series favorites regardless of how many teams are added. But if the Reds or Indians hit their stride at the right time, they’ve got enough pitching to disrupt October.

That’s the bottom line: The tension and intensity of close races down the stretch will spill into an October that will look like nothing we’ve had in the past.

We’ve just been guaranteed a postseason that’ll be longer and more intense and ultimately more fun than any we’ve ever had.

We’re going to love it.