Diamondbacks CEO Derrick Hall supports MLB playoff expansion
Feb 14, 2020, 6:06 AM
(Matt Layman/Arizona Sports)
From the sound of it, Arizona Diamondbacks CEO Derrick Hall isn’t the staunchest baseball traditionalist.
Hall said Thursday on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station that he likes the idea of MLB playoff expansion when Doug & Wolf asked his opinion on the New York Post‘s report that the MLB is considering changes.
“Our sport is so difficult to make the playoffs,” he said. “If we could expand that a little bit, TV networks like it, fans like it and let’s create more elimination games because … they are powerful.”
As the season progresses and teams drift further from playoff contention and the second wild card spot, fans and players of those teams have the propensity to start checking out. Hall feels that if more teams are allowed, more teams will remain competitive and fan interest will be heightened later in the season.
Not to mention, the 2019 D-backs would have been the seventh and final playoff team.
Major League Baseball is considering a plan that would increase the number of playoff teams per league from five to seven. The top seed would have a first-round bye and the others would play best-of-three series. The teams with the second- and third-best record would be able to select the opponent for that round.
MLB expanded its playoffs recently. In 2012, a second wild card team to each league was added for a single-game elimination round. Hall, at first, was skeptical.
“When (former commissioner) Bud Selig introduced the concept of bringing in a (second) wild card team, I thought, ‘What are we doing?'” Hall said. “I’m pure, I’m traditionalist, and it really changed the game in a positive way.”
So increasing it to five playoff teams in each league was good, in Hall’s opinion. Could it be better? Would seven teams, with the chance of three elimination games in a single night, make it even more exciting?
Would higher seeds being allowed to choose opponents bring new strategy and competition?
In the minor leagues, there are two halves to each season. Even if a team finishes the first half of the season in last place, if it rebounds and finishes first in the second half, it’s in the playoffs.
Consider everything, Hall says. Once the playoffs start, anything can happen — just ask last year’s National League Wild Card Game winner, the Washington Nationals.
“I’m not saying that that’s the right way. I’m saying I am open to suggestions,” Hall said. “I want to see what we can do. Throw everything up against the wall is really my point! Is this the solution? Maybe not. Am I excited about it? Yes!”
The D-backs CEO is happy with the competitive balance the league struck by implementing the second wild card spot. But that doesn’t mean the league can’t be improved upon.
“If it stayed status quo, I am fine,” Hall said. “But the concept … who knows if it’s not going to be even better?”