The MLB postseason is a four-round affair, with six teams from each league (American and National) competing for the ultimate prize: the World Series. The first round is the Wild Card, where two teams from each league face off in a single-elimination game. The winners advance to the Division Series, where they join the three division champions from each league in a best-of-five series. The winners of the Division Series move on to the League Championship Series, where they play a best-of-seven series to determine the league champions. The league champions then clash in the World Series, another best-of-seven series, to crown the MLB champion.
This format has been in place since 2012, and it has produced some exciting and surprising results. For instance, this year’s World Series features the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Texas Rangers, two teams that were not expected to make it this far. The Diamondbacks won 84 games in the regular season, the lowest among all playoff teams, while the Rangers won 88 games, the second-lowest in the American League. Both teams had to overcome higher-seeded opponents in the playoffs, and they did so with clutch hitting and pitching.
However, not everyone is happy with this format. Nate Silver, a prominent analyst and statistician, thinks it is unfair and boring. He tweeted: “This is the least compelling World Series matchup in a long time, maybe ever. MLB made a lot of great and overdue changes this season but it’s time to contract the playoffs and give the regular season more meaning.”
Silver’s tweet implies that he prefers a format that rewards the best teams in the regular season more than the current one does. He suggests that the playoffs should be shorter and more exclusive, so that only the elite teams have a chance to win the World Series. He also implies that the current World Series matchup is not appealing to most fans, because it does not feature any of the traditional powerhouses or big-market teams.
However, Silver’s opinion is not shared by most fans, who have enjoyed the drama and unpredictability of the current format. They argue that the current format makes every game matter more, because any team can win or lose on any given day. They also point out that the current format gives hope and incentive to teams that are close to being contenders, because they can make some additions and go for it, rather than tanking or rebuilding. They also appreciate the diversity and variety of teams that make it to the World Series, rather than seeing the same teams over and over again.
The current format might not be perfect, but it does send a clear message: an 84-win team can win it all, and has reasons to be competitive. That might not be fair, but it sure is fun.
This is the least compelling World Series matchup in a long time, maybe ever. MLB made a lot of great and overdue changes this season but it's time to contract the playoffs and give the regular season more meaning.
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) October 25, 2023