Hall of Famer Tom Glavine Not Opposed to Shortening MLB Season, Expanding Playoffs Permanently

Tim Kelly
June 30, 2020 - 11:54 am

Hall of Fame left-hander Tom Glavine isn't necessarily in favor of radical changes to the fabric of Major League Baseball, but the two-time National League Cy Young Award winner said Monday that he doesn't always side with baseball purists either.

Glavine, who is one of 26 pitchers in MLB history with 300 or more wins, balked Monday at the suggestion of changing the amount of innings required for a starting pitcher to throw in order to be eligible for a win. However, Glavine isn't a fierce opponent of shortening the regular season to some degree and expanding the postseason.

"I'm very much open to the discussion of shortening the regular season and adding to the playoffs," Glavine said Monday to Joe, Lo & Dibs on 95.7 The Game. "I know that's been talked about for a lot of years. I know the purists in the game probably hate that, but the purists in the game hated the Wild Card, and the Wild Card has been pretty good for baseball. The Wild Card play-in game has been pretty good. Anything you can do to add excitement to teams and cities late in the year that maybe otherwise wouldn't have it, I don't think is a bad thing.

Now, I'm not saying you want to open it up to as many teams as say the NHL or NBA does, but I would certainly be open to shortening the schedule. When you hear about adding another tier of playoffs the number that everybody seems to come up with that makes sense is 154 games. I'd be fine with that, and then you add an extra round of playoffs."

Tom Glavine
Tom Glavine was a 10-time All-Star. Photo credit (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Glavine did go on to say that while some potential viewers are lost by the amount of regular season games baseball plays, the idea of a typical regular season being a marathon, rather than a sprint, is part of what makes baseball magical to the fans that it's captured already. From here, it's fair to wonder if trimming eight regular season games off the slate would really make that much of a difference in bringing new fans into the sport. Taking more than a week's worth of regular season games off the schedule would also make it more difficult to break single-season and career records that were achieved by players who competed in 162-game seasons, a model baseball has used since 1961.

Glavine also suggested a postseason model that takes the Wild Card Game from being a one-game playoff to a best-of-five series. Under such an arrangement, the NLDS and ALDS would presumably become best-of-seven series, rather than staying best-of-five.

At least for the time being, it doesn't appear that MLB will alter their postseason format for the 2020 season. Joel Sherman of The New York Post reported in
February that MLB is weighing the possibility of expanding the postseason to seven teams in each league in 2022, which hypothetically would be the first year of a new CBA. This format would include the addition of a first-round bye for the top seed, and the chance for the No. 2 seed to pick their first-round opponent from among the three Wild Card winners in their respective league. Though this scenario wouldn't include quite as many postseason teams as the NHL or NBA, nearly half of the league would reach the postseason. It would be a model similar to the one that the NFL is moving to in 2020.

Major League Baseball moved to their current postseason format - which included the addition of a second Wild Card winner in each league and a one-game Wild Card playoff - in 2012.

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