Major League Baseball is reportedly considering a change to its playoff format and former Hart Indians and current Cincinnati Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer is infuriated with the proposed plan.
A multitude of issues and changes have bothered him recently and he finally aired his grievances. Bauer expressed his frustration to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred in a YouTube video on the channel “Momentum” Tuesday morning.
“I’m really, really upset about this new ridiculous playoff policy that Rob Manfred has suggested or proposed or leaked,” Bauer said. “I don’t even know how it got on the internet. I don’t know why it would even get on the internet. It’s that ridiculous.”
The proposal that set him off was one that would change the playoff format from five teams per league to seven – the three division winners and four at-large teams. The team with the best record in each league would receive a first-round bye and the wild-card round would be a trio of three-game series between the remaining six teams of each league.
The kicker to the new proposal is the method in which the wild-card games are selected. The remaining division winners choose their wild-card opponents out of the four at-large teams on a live television broadcast and the remaining two teams are pitted against each other.
“While we sort out this whole three games here and this wildcard and we’re going to pick our opponent. We’re going to do this whole reality TV stuff. Meanwhile, the best team in baseball is sitting at home waiting for all this to transpire.”
Bauer alluded to this being an issue rather than a benefit for the sport’s best teams. He mentioned where rest is good in football, it can be detrimental to pitchers who rely on routine to stay at the top of their game.
“God forbid someone’s ace pitches four days before the end of the regular season and then has 10 days in between starts,” he said. “Who knows how the pitching rotation lines up and all this different stuff and that’s supposed to be a benefit?”
Other big names in baseball are on his side. Didi Gregorius, a shortstop for the Philadelphia Phillies, expressed his disapproval over the rule change on Twitter Monday night.
Gregorius’s tweet read:
“Why are we changing this loveable sport so much?”
While this is an issue Bauer feels strongly about, it is merely just the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Other issues that Bauer is frustrated with may be minor, including pushing the pitching mound back two feet, or the new three-batter minimum for each pitcher. However, what bothers him the most is the decline in fane bases, especially among younger generations.
The biggest issue he attributes to the declining fan base is the media blackouts. Many media companies in large markets own the rights to their local baseball teams. In turn, fans of a team can be restricted from watching that team on television unless done so through the specific media provider.
“In one of your biggest markets, half the fans can’t even watch the game because of TV deals,” Bauer said. “What got me into baseball is I grew up going to see one Dodger game a year. We didn’t have money to go to more than that. But we’d watch Dodger games all the time. I was sitting in bed at night watching Dodger games. This is what got me into baseball.”
In a fit of frustration, he posed a few questions to Manfred.
“How are we supposed to spread the game?” he said. “How are we supposed to get people interested? Young people? The missing generation of baseball fans? How are we supposed to get them interested in the game when they can’t even see the damn game?”
He then compared the media coverage of the MLB to that of the National Basketball Association. When players make big plays in the NBA, the highlight is all over social media, but the opposite is true for the MLB.
Bauer even went as far as saying that the MLB is a more marketable league because of its more diverse player base and the more diverse backgrounds they bring with them. His gripe is the inability to market them efficiently if at all.
He ended the video extended offer to help brainstorm new ideas with Manfred, then suggested that he’ll probably just get fined instead before walking out of the room clearly frustrated.