As proposals and counter-proposals continue to swirl, the latest update from Jeff Passan did not come as welcome news for New York Yankee fans.
Passan indicated that league owners are pushing for a 50-60 game season with 14 playoff teams. The owners’ rationale is that for a small number of games, they can afford to pay all of the players their pro-rated salary.
Amount of Games
The Yankees are one of if not the most talented roster in the game. The more games that are played, there is more time for the cream to rise to the top. 2018 and 2019 are great examples. The Yankees started out poorly over the first 25 games. However, the sheer amount of games on the schedule allowed them to pull away from the mediocre teams on their way to 100 games. Baseball is built on the foundation of a large sample size. This proposal eliminates that and creates parity and chaos.
Amount of Playoff Teams
A small number of games + half the teams making the playoffs= bad for Yankees. Under this proposed format, the Yankees are much less likely to pull away and secure the one seed. There is a pretty good chance they would end up as a wild card, forcing them to play a three-game series against some average team like the Texas Rangers or Chicago White Sox. Under a normal season, those teams would be golfing when the Yankees were in the playoffs. Yet now, a .500 team will have a puncher’s chance to send the Yankees home early.
It wouldn’t be a Yankees article without mentioning injuries, would it? Some of the Yankees’ best players are walking injuries waiting to happen. Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Gary Sanchez have basically no chance to stay fully healthy. Over a 162 game season, we can lose Judge for 50 games and weather the storm. With a 50 game season, if one of these guys goes down, the Yankees are immediately on life support.
The Yankees enjoy an intimidating home-field advantage due to our loyal and vocal fan base. We are routinely at the top of the list for attendance, and Yankee Stadium gets extremely loud in October. Not having fans in the stands will affect us much more than teams like the Tampa Bay Rays and the Oakland Athletics, who are used to playing in empty stadiums.
I want any form of baseball as much as the next guy, but this latest proposal takes away many of the competitive advantages that the Yankees tend to enjoy.