I am sure many of us are aware about the potential change to the playoff format. Let me be one to say that I fully support such changes (but not simply adding one more wild card team per league).
I strongly believe in changing the playoff structure to be more like the NFL, NBA or NHL. Let me explain:
As has been for many years, baseball seems to be simply a game of chance. Only one team from each division makes it to the postseason and often times it is decided who will be that team when there could be as much as a quarter or third of the regular season left to play, and just blind luck which one out of the remaining 13 (NL) or 11 (AL) teams will join them. With baseball having a 162-game regular season, this adds many more “meaningless games” to the season, thus driving down attendance since at that point, the only thing you really have to watch those teams play for aside from their salary is pride, unless they have other motivations and in very rare cases, upsets.
This can explain why attendance is noticeably lower for many MLB teams compared to the other 3 major sports in the country (percentage wise, since different venues have different capacities). In 2010, only 3 MLB teams had regular sell outs, only 2 non sell outs were over 90% attendance, and 16 teams were at 70% or lower. As we know, many football games can sell out before the season even begins, not much stats explanation needed there. In the NBA, 16 teams were 90% attendance or better. In, the NHL, 19 of their teams better than 90%, with 12 of them being sell outs. Plus, they have more teams making the playoffs and that means more meaningful and exciting games.
I know about the complaints regarding “OK teams” or under .500 teams making the playoffs in these three leagues since it might undermine the teams that are supposed to be significantly better. But there are many times (and it is not rare or uncommon) when lower seeds (especially 8th seeded teams) upset the bigger guys which proves some very fine points about the context and character of professional sports. The complaint about making teams “work” for a playoff seed is ridiculous. Why should a top tier team or heavy favorite get a free pass through if they cannot defeat underdogs who supposedly have nothing to play for?
There is also the argument of the expanded postseason stretching into winter. Just shorten the regular season a little bit. Make the regular season end somewhere between 140 to 150 games so there is more time for the postseason.