Major League Baseball and Their Stupid 5 Game Series

Best of 5 = crapshoot

(check out the original piece written for

Major league baseball needs to seriously reevaluate their ridiculous best-of-5 playoff format in the Division Series. Teams play a grueling 162 game schedule (which is probably too-long but that’s for another rant) to determine playoff match-ups and home field advantage, and their reward is a playoff series in a best-of-5 format in which the better team loses home field advantage if they lose 1 of the first 2 games.

For those of you who aren’t math geniuses, that means the team who had the worse regular season record only needs to win 50% of the games in their opponents ballpark to gain home field advantage for themselves. (The format is 2-2-1, meaning 2 games in the ballpark of the favorite, followed by 2 in the ballpark of the underdog, and the decisive 5th game goes back to the favorite’s park if needed.) Had the underdog won 50% of their games during the regular season, they surely wouldn’t even be in the playoffs, yet in the Division Series splitting the opening 2 games gives them a decided advantage!

How this seems like a good idea to anyone is beyond me. Sure, I am overly bitter about it in the moment as my New York Yankees are about to lose the Division Series to the lowly Detroit Tigers, however I’d be making the same argument if the Yankees weren’t even in the playoffs.

You can search all of professional sports and the only place you’ll find a playoff series determined in the best-of-5 format is in Major League Baseball. That alone should set off alarms in the minds of MLB execs.

In its current format, the Division Series is nothing more than a “who has the best pitcher” contest. One solid ace (read: Justin Verlander) can pitch twice and practically lock up the series. To lower variance and truly give determine the better team, the Division Series should be a best-of-7 series, like every other playoff series on the planet.

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About donniccolo

Logic. Common Sense. Open Minds.
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1 Response to Major League Baseball and Their Stupid 5 Game Series

  1. Deron says:

    During the Wild-Card era, the team with the better record has won in the first round 55% of the time and has won the LCS and World Series 52% of the time.

    So, the fact that higher seeds don’t win the as much as they should is more a function of the nature of baseball rather than the series being the best-of-5 or best-of-7.


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