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MLB Discussing an Expanded Playoff Format to Begin in 2022

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Major League Baseball is at it’s best every year come October, as there is nothing better than playoff games with stakes attached.

The MLB is contemplating a new playoff format to capitalize on the popularity of October baseball by expanding it to include four Wild Card teams from each league instead of two.

Essentially the plan that MLB commissioner Rob Manfred is proposing is to expand the playoff pool to include four Wild Card teams in each league that will square off against two division winners in a new Wild Card round.

The team’s with the best record in the NL and the AL will each receive a bye from this Wild Card round.

The remaining two division winners, along with the top Wild Card team, will each host a three-game Wild Card series against the bottom three Wild Card teams. The winners will advance and join the top seed in the traditional league divisional round.

This new format not only adds more playoff teams, but also opens the door for more teams to be playing meaningful games late in September with the hopes of sneaking into a Wild Card spot.

It will encourage teams to compete and not tank, while also drawing more national attention to a sport that often pales in comparison to it’s counterparts of the NBA and the NFL.

All changes to the MLB game have to be collectively bargained with the MLB Player’s Association, so they are still a long way from being implemented.

Still, this could be an interesting way to draw more attention and intrigue to the game of baseball.

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Ian Desmond Opts Out of Season with Powerful Message

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Major League Baseball is trying to get their season underway with players reporting to camp this week to get ready for a 60-game schedule, which will began late-July.

While most players are planning to report and try to play this season amid the COVID-19 pandemic, others have opted out of the season for their health, or other family concerns. Colorado Rockies outfielder Ian Desmond belongs to the group of players that will not play this season, but his absence goes far deeper than simply due to health concerns.

Desmond, who is mixed race, posted a nine-page explanation to Instagram for why he won’t playing baseball this season. The main message Desmond articulates is that baseball is failing minorities.

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On my mind.

A post shared by Ian Desmond (@i_dez20) on

Ever since George Floyd’s murder at the hands of a police officer on May 25th, the Black Lives Matter movement has gained widespread traction. Protests have become commonplace around the country, as the fight for racial equality and the end to police brutality have become the primary concern for many.

In not playing this season, Desmond is using his platform to protest the injustices he sees in the game he has played professionally for over a decade.

Desmond recently returned to his old little league fields in Sarasota, FL and found them in terrible condition. The game that was made available to Desmond at a young age that he used to prosper and grow, is no longer offered to lower-income families from his hometown.

Instead travel baseball has become the main path towards being able to play the game, which is an organization that caters to wealthy families that can afford the cost of traveling all across the state and country.

Desmond is planning on channeling his energies over the coming months to helping youth baseball flourish again in his hometown. He also spoke of his desire to be there for his family, as his wife is pregnant and he has four young kids at home.

As it relates to game of baseball, Desmond hopes that the MLB will look to grow the game so that it is available to minorities and kids from all walks of life. He also hopes to see more diversity at the top of the sport, in front offices and managers.

Rockies fans may miss Desmond on the field this season, but it is clear that he has made the right decision for him, his family and his community.

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Noah Syndergaard Forced to Undergo Tommy John Surgery

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The New York Mets were dealt with a devastating blown on Tuesday, when it was announced that star pitcher Noah Syndergaard will have to undergo Tommy John surgery.

Syndergaard will have the procedure on Thursday, effectively ending his season before it starts and even putting his status for the 2021 season into question as well.

The New York Mets are luckily covered to deal with Syndergaard’s injury, as they signed Michael Wacha and Rick Porcello to replace departed starting pitcher Zack Wheeler in free agency. With Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman and Steven Matz already in place, the Mets still feature a five-man rotation.

Still, the ceiling of the Mets was tied to Syndergaard’s ability to be another ace next to the two-time reigning Cy Young Award winner in deGrom.

Now the Mets have to wonder when they will even get Syndergaard back on the mound, as it usually takes over a year for pitchers to return to full health after this surgery.

This injury could not come at a worse time for Syndergaard, as he is just two years away from becoming a free agent for the first time.

Now Syndergaard’s path to a potential nine-figure contract is likely far more uncertain than it would have been had he remained healthy and productive for the next two seasons.

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New York Yankees Minor-League Affiliate Cancels ‘OJ Trial Night’

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Minor league baseball teams will do anything to get fans to come out to the ballpark. Gimmicky promotional events drive people to come to these games, but not every idea is worth doing.

The New York Yankees Single-A affiliate, the Charleston RiverDogs, made an ill-advised decision to host a “OJ Trail Night”. After receiving immediate backlash they have rightfully cancelled the event.

The RiverDogs have made a name for themselves in Charleston for their wacky promotions in the past. Back in 2002, they hosted a “Nobody Night”, where they did not allow fans into the ballpark until the sixth inning so that they could set a record for the lowest attendance at a game.

This latest promotion was made to give fans a “unique twist” on the most infamous murder trial of the 1990s.

According to the team’s website, the ‘OJ Trial Night’ was described as follows:

“The trial of the century gets a juicy new spin. We will finally receive the verdict that everyone has been waiting for … pulp or no pulp?

“Fans will act as our jury, voting with custom paddles to reach verdicts on various topics throughout the night. The eyes of the nation will be upon us. Fans will receive an “OJ Trial” shirt upon entering the stadium. If the shirt don’t fit, you must … see if we have a different size.”

Charleston’s PR staff completely missed the ball on this one, as they should have understood the backlash that would have come with making light of a murder trial.

Back in 1995, Simpson was acquitted of the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ron Goldman.

The families of the victims of that tragedy probably should have been taken into account before the RiverDogs made this promotional event public.

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