Like Jake, I get the benefit of responding to this thread after having witnessing Wednesday night's insanity—and while it didn't change my basic opinion, it did momentarily convince me of two totally conflicting conclusions: First of all, the system in place is perfect and wonderful and nothing should change because October is always this magical. And second, the system in place is evil and malicious and it punishes good people (Red Sox players and fans, obviously) almost indiscriminately. (Though some might say we deserve this pain, and they might be correct.)
Patrick, I like how you posed this question—that an expanded playoff in the MLB could either be "a good thing" or "too much of one." For biased fans, it would be a very good thing to have an additional Wild Card spot in the postseason—but only some years. I would have felt pretty good about having an additional Wild Card spot this year, for example. But Wednesday's action was just as thrilling as it was painful for me to watch (and I do recommend, if you haven't already, that youwatch and listen to it all at once), and there was just enough of it. Any more of that might have sent Kurkjian into orbit before he burst into flames.
As it currently exists, the length of the MLB postseason has always felt perfect to me. It's October, and nothing more. But sports fans tend to be amenable to change, especially if the change only means more of something that they already enjoy. And baseball fans, especially, are a vulnerable group: A good portion of the sport's romanticism and fans' nostalgia got washed away with the steroids era. So if the MLB goes through with the expanded field in 2012—and because this is about money, it's safe to assume it will—then I'm guessing the only people who will notice are those whose teams barely missed the second Wild Card slot.
Based on how I'm feeling today, it's probably best to limit the extent of that kind of pain as much as we can.