Joe Maddon Warm to Idea of Best-of-Seven Division Series
Before Saturday's Game 3 of the American League Division Series against the Rangers, Rays manager Joe Maddon tackled the issue. Even though his team came into the day one loss away from elimination, Maddon doesn't appear to be completely sold on going to seven games.
As long as the season is, between six weeks of spring training, six months of regular season and one month of postseason for the teams lucky enough to get there, that's a lot of baseball.
"Right now (seven games) sounds really good," Maddon said, provoking laughter. "You know, the talking about the shorter season, I'm sure there are creative ways to get that done. Then again, you know at this time of the year, weather does become a factor. We were involved in that a couple of years ago (in the 2008 World Series against Philadelphia).
"I understand the circumstances the way they exist. I think the system as it exists is a good one. I would prefer a seven-game series, not just because we're down right now, but to do it, I would not want to extend this (postseason) any further into the wintertime or the fall because that series we had in Philadelphia a couple of years ago was pretty nasty."
Yankees manager Joe Girardi expressed ambivalence when he was asked a similar question.
"Really haven't thought a lot about it," he said. "It would just prolong the season a little bit longer. It would make it more interesting. I think there would be -- it would be a different feel to the first round. I think clubs talk about the nervousness in the first round because it's such a short series.
"I guess I really don't have a true feeling either way. I wouldn't be opposed to it, though."
Maddon admits that he's an old-school guy when it comes to altering the schedule, but there are some ideas floating out there that could make it possible.
One would be to go back to having every club play a number of regular-season doubleheaders, something that used to be a component of schedules into the 1980s but which has been abandoned by clubs looking to get 81 games for the price of 81 games.
"We were just talking about the potential maybe to do doubleheaders, and you possibly would know well in advance when a doubleheader would be," Maddon said. "(You could) possibly expand the roster for that particular day. That's one of the thoughts I had personally.
"Because you are going to put a heavy strain on a pitching staff, that could negatively impact you for the week or two weeks after that if you don't have that extra guy or two to suck up an extra inning."
Doubleheaders would be an issue with clubs that draw the best. The Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs and Phillies, to name four, aren't going to want to give fans two games for the price of one. And while day-night doubleheaders do take place from time to time now as rainouts need to be squeezed into the schedule, selling them to season-ticket holders might be difficult.
"There's no reason why we can't make adjustments," Maddon said. "I think the fans would appreciate and respond in a favorable way."