By Lenn Robbins
Ever hear something so preposterous your first reaction was to chuckle? You know, that, ‘Don’t Give Me That BS’ guffaw that conveys the message, ‘Pull the other leg it plays jingle bells.’
Like the time the guy at the corner deli who makes your bacon, egg and cheese said that Buster Douglas had knocked out Mike Tyson. Yeah, right.
Or the time you flipped on SportsCenter and the score read Appalachian State 34, Michigan 32. Must be a misprint.
Or when New York Magazine reported that Angelina Jolie had married Billy Bob Thornton. What?!
Even after there was confirmation that all were true (they were), it still took a day for the news to sink in. That’s how the last 48 hours have been after hearing that Major League Baseball is planning on expanding its playoff format including a national televised show during which the top seed in each league would pick its opponent.
If you think you’ve heard the “No Respect,” card played before, just wait.
Why would a sport so steeped in tradition and history make such a move? Attendance has continued to drop and MLB has decided that the best way to reverse this trend is to go professional wrestling on us.
Commissioner Rob Manfred Mann has been blinded by his own marketing light. He’s decided that the best way to bring more fans to baseball is to turn to reality TV.
As reported by The Post’s Joel Sherman, under the new format, which would go into effect in 2022, the field will balloon from 10 to 14 teams. The team with the best record in each league would get a first round bye.
Those two teams would then pick its opponent – on national TV. I’m not going to suggest that the sign-stealing league would attempt any trickery but didn’t the Knicks get to pick Patrick Ewing in the NBA’s first draft lottery?
Does the team picking give the team it picks a rose?
This is supposed to attract fans – The Bachelor, MLB version?
And this doesn’t even address the issue of sub-.500 teams making postseason. Instead of 10 teams making the playoffs, 14 will.
If this format had been in effect last season, the Indians (93-69), Red Sox (84-78), Rangers (78-84) and either the White Sox (72-89) or Angels (72-90) would have been in.
Finishing 18 games below .500 is a lofty goal but somebody’s got to do it.
The NFL hasn’t had a sub-.500 playoff team since 2014, when the 7-8-1 Panthers snuck in. They won their wildcard playoff game, by the way, which should strike fear into any MLB No.1 seed.
There’s nothing better than postseason baseball. The teams that have made it have proven themselves over the course of a 162-game season, ensuring the best get in and usually yielding the best matchups.
Now Manfred wants to add the MLB’s Postseason Selection Show. What’s next, stadium-only betting on each pitch, hosted by Alex Cora, Carlos Beltran and A.J. Hinch?
Don’t give Manfred Mann any more ideas.