- Mostly cloudy
SAN FRANCISCO - You may have noticed the Reds are in San Francisco for their first two playoff games. Doesn't make much sense with the Reds holding a better record than the Giants, does it?
It's part of the MLB's new playoff layout, which is only for this year while the league starts this whole play-in Wild Card game thing on the same season schedule as it was without the play-in game.
Instead of the traditional 2 at home, 2 away and 1 back at home if necessary for the higher seeded team, it's instead a 2 away and 3 at home for the higher seeds. If the Reds make it to the NLCS and are the higher seed, they'll go back to a traditional 2 games home, 3 games away and 2 games home if necessary.
It makes shooting for a 3-seed probably the better choice, so that you don't have to travel to start your postseason play.
Where a team plays their first two games in the playoffs cannot only make it harder to be at their best because of travel, it also takes away potential momentum into the playoffs and through the first round, both effects that seemingly punish a team's success.
The real intention is to punish the Wild Card teams, who do have to play that extra game and as a result blow a starting pitcher just for the chance to play in the NLDS. As a result of the extra game, the league needed to condense postseason schedules to fit everything in while winter was held at bay. Despite that, fans of the St. Louis Cardinals are just happy that the extra Wild Card team was included so they even got a shot in the playoffs.
Those who really get punished are the fans of teams like the Reds.
In the shoes of a Reds fan, instead of two guaranteed games at home to cheer on your team who had earned the privilege to play in front of a home crowd thanks to a better record than the team they're facing, now fans could possibly only see the minimum of one game, much like in 2010, but to no fault of their own.
Even if the Reds sweep and move on, fans who got tickets to only the NLDS lose out by only being able to catch one game, and have to watch the team's success from afar.
The Reds organization loses big too. More revenue is generated in a single playoff game than several regular season games put together.
The MLB says the format this year was to cut down on travel time, which over the course of five games it does, but the Reds got the short end of the playoff stick having to pack up to go to the West Coast for their first two games. The Oakland A's got shafted with the same fate of having to come mostly east to Detroit (after a fantastic run just to win the AL West division no less).
So it's comforting to know that next year will be back to normal thanks to an earlier Opening Day, but for this format to fall on a year that holds such high hopes for a clicking Redlegs squad, one can't help but wonder if the first two games away will mess with their mojo.
Fortunately for the Reds, they've been pretty stinkin' good on the road at 47-34, better than all but one team in the league, the No. 1 seeded Washington Nationals.
First pitch in San Francisco is at 9:37 p.m. (EDT) on both Saturday and Sunday. The games can be seen on TBS.
What do you think of the new playoff format? Is it less than desirable for the teams who earn the right to play at home more? Or is it worth the travel time it makes up and proves the best teams win no matter where they are? Leave a comment in the section below.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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