Dear Manfred: America’s Pastime Deserves Better

Caleb Kelch

The game of baseball used to be such a lovely pastime. It possessed courage, mental toughness, fervor, even bits of human weakness. Players were held to the highest standards, and the game was played with a mentality that seems to be nowhere near today’s interpretation of the sport. 

Baseball caught the attention of its fans by not focusing on the fans. In baseball, players played the game with intensity and sportsmanship. Fans sat back, bet on the games, and roared with the players. 

Today, the sport features distraught players with million dollar contracts and dollar signs for contacts, fans that resemble bags of money, and an authenticity that feels old and musty. No, this isn’t baseball. This isn’t the sport that I grew up with and fell in love with. It can’t be. 

Ever since being voted into office, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has led the game of baseball into hazardous waters that the sport may never be able to return from. 

With a variety of questionable actions and rules being implemented, Manfred struck the final chord with a proposal for a restructured MLB playoff format. This format has been compared to reality TV far too much already for me to even stomach it anymore. 

The potential new format was first reported by “The New York Post,” and it would work as follows:

The team with the best record in the National and American Leagues will receive a first round bye, similar to that of the NFL’s playoff format, and ultimately advance to the Division Series. The other two division winners would then play in a best-of-three Wild Card round, serving as the home team for all three games, and the Wild Card team with the best record will do the same. Another three Wild Card teams, with the next-best records, would advance to the best-of-three round, yet none would host a game. 

The division winner with the second-best record, in their respective league, would then choose their opponent out of the bottom three Wild Card teams in the opening round. This decision would be aired on live television only hours after the regular season concludes. 

Mark Feinsand, writer for, asked, “Could Selection Sunday be coming to Major League baseball?” in his column discussing and revealing what MLB’s new potential playoff format could be. 

With the addition of two more postseason teams in each league, teams would stay in the playoff race much longer. Feinsand mentions that “it would give teams more incentive to fight for the best overall record in their league.” This would ultimately be the only possible way for a team to directly move to the Division Series without playing in the proposed Wild Card. 

The Wild Card round holds the potential to have as many as 18 games including 12 of those being elimination games. Every Game 2 would be an elimination game, with Game 3 serving as the win-or-go-home finale. MLB’s proposal includes that all Game 163 tiebreakers would be omitted. Instead, the league would use the season series between clubs to break any ties. 

MLB’s potential proposal has me rolling on the floor in agony. My sides hurt and my head is thumping from an anger-induced headache. 

Manfred’s proposal clarifies all the doubt I’ve had in him since he was first elected as the new Commissioner of the MLB. Over the past few years, he has continued to ruin the sport and infiltrate it with TV ratings, money, and lackluster ideas of changing the game to be faster-paced. 

The game of baseball is intended to not have a time limit. The game of baseball is meant to be free and, at times, lackadaisical. Baseball is supposed to have its exciting and somewhat tedious moments. That’s what makes the sport so enticing and riveting. 

Baseball is America’s pastime. The sport wasn’t invented to move quickly and to entertain the crowd; it’s supposed to entertain the players. 

Manfred has continuously produced hideous proposals and has even implemented some of the most delirious rules into the game. The 2020 MLB season provides more time-strickening rules and evokes lesser managerial ability throughout the game. 

This may be a simple proposal that could be knocked down at any moment, but it’s still being discussed and officially out in the open. MLB would truly be making a mistake by adapting this reality TV-esque playoff format. 

I miss the sport of baseball that I grew up reading about, playing, talking about, and watching for hours on end.

I miss the game that I fell in love with at such a young age. 

Baseball is an obstacle course filled with ups and downs and this new addition will only tarnish the game that’s so beloved to so many people across the world.