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MLB will discuss playoff format; no wholesale changes set for near future, commish says


The Atlanta Braves won 104 games during the regular season. The Los Angeles Dodgers finished the season on top of the NL West division with 100 wins. However, both teams were eliminated from the postseason in the Division Series.

The Baltimore Orioles won recorded 101 wins and earned the AL East title, but they were swept in the Division series following a first-round bye.

The Arizona Diamondbacks won 84 games this year and qualified for the playoffs via the wild card. Meanwhile, the Texas Rangers finished second in the AL West and were also a wild card team. Both teams have advanced to the World Series.

Major League Baseball altered its playoff format ahead of the 2022 postseason as part of a multi-year collective bargaining agreement with the players’ association. As a result, the playoffs were expanded from 10 teams to 12.

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MLB postseason logo on the field

A general view of the MLB postseason logo on the field during Game Three of the Division Series between the Houston Astros and Minnesota Twins at Target Field on October 10, 2023, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said the league will examine its playoff format, but it is in no rush implement any significant changes.

“It will at least motivate a conversation about whether we have it right,” Manfred said Friday before the World Series opener. “I’m sure that conversation will take place (after) the postseason. Enough has been written and said that we have to think about it and talk about it. But again, my own view is that the format served us pretty well.”

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MLB proposed expanding the playoffs to 14 teams, but the union refused to go along. If 14 teams had been a part of this year’s postseason, the Chicago Cubs would have qualified as a wild-card team.

“We came into that negotiation believing that the system wasn’t broke. We liked the 10 teams,” union head Tony Clark said, speaking about an hour before Manfred.

 Rob Manfred speaks to the media

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred speaks to the media prior to a game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the San Francisco Giants at American Family Field on May 25, 2023, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

There has also been talk about expanding the Division Series to best-of-seven, but the league is reluctant to extend the postseason deeper into November.

“We’ve made proposals in the past for shorter seasons,” Clark said. “They weren’t necessarily against the backdrop of expanded playoffs, but shorter seasons nonetheless, whether that was 162 games, 158 games, 154 games.”

MLB postseason logo

The Postseason logo is seen prior to Game One of the Wild Card Series between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Minnesota Twins at Target Field on October 3, 2023, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

After playoffs first were added, 15 teams with their leagues’ top record won the World Series from 1969 to 1993, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. After a second round of playoffs was introduced, just six clubs with their leagues’ top mark took the title from 1995 to 2011, and six have won it all since wild card games started in 2012.

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“If the die was cast, right, meaning that if I win 100 in the regular season, I’m going to win the World Series. I don’t think that’s as interesting as what we have witnessed over the last month,” Manfred said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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