Baseball is going to do it. A new collective bargaining agreement is coming. The Wild Card adds interest. We need more teams. But how to do so without upsetting the whole balance of the playoffs?
It really is so simple, I wonder why baseball did not think of it before:
Add one Wild Card per league, and make a one game playoff to determine the team that gets to play in the first series. One game playoffs are AWESOME. The whole baseball world watches with interest, as on the Monday or Tuesday after baseball season (when nothing but some crappy early season MNF game is on), two teams duke it out for the right to play in the postseason. It's happened a few times in the last few years. We all remember the Twins and the Tigers playing it out, or, dare I say, the Yanks/Sawx in 78? Imagine a one game playoff between the Yankees and Red Sox? How about the Cubs/Cards?
What happens if three teams are tied, with two of them tied for the division lead? Use tiebreakers for the division crown, as they do in the NFL, and let the non division winner and the other team play a playoff. This validates the regular season, and avoids all the extra games that might arise if four or more teams are tied from different divisions. Only two teams get to play for the right to move on in the playoffs. One game playoff for everything. Two game sevens in two days. Guaranteed. Every year.
What this also does is weaken the Wild Card team every year. Now, teams such as the Yankees this year will not be so willing to accept the Wild Card if their season is going to come down to one game. Imagine how much more exciting and different September would have been had the Yankees had more to play for? How do the Twins do against a different starter than CC? Do the Yanks even get there? The possibilities are tantalizing.
As for the first round of the playoffs, leave it at five games. The first round sucks anyway (and I don;t like the idea of giving a Wild Card team an extra two games. Let them have the hardest hill to climb. And enough of this crap about not being able to play a team from your own division.) If they really want to do something cool, make the World Series 9 games. 5 game divisional, 7 game league, 9 game Championship.