I think this emailer's case for the seven-game series is stronger than my vague theories about what feels fair or just to the losing team's fans:
I'm a Cubs fan and I'm not going to whine that the five-game opening round screwed the Cubs. In a seven-game format they'd still, after last night, be down 0-3 with two more games to go at Dodger Stadium. Unless you get extraordinarily lucky you aren't going to come back from 0-3 to win a seven-game series. When you dump three in a row there's usually a reason for it.
But the best argument against a five-game opening round has nothing to do with what the losing team "deserves," or how much randomness it introduces into the outcome of the series. The argument is simply that a five-game series, because it's shorter, produces less excitement and fewer interesting storylines. Yeah, a sweep is a sweep whether it's three games or four games. But say the Cubs had won a hypothetical Game Four. Then Game Five is at least marginally interesting, because if the Cubs win then things return to Wrigley where--until the playoffs, at least--the Cubs have been a very tough team. More games automatically means more opportunity for drama and more fun rooting for the comeback, however unlikely. I'm sure you're happy that the ALCS moved to a seven-game format in 1985. Think of all the fun you would have missed out on in 2004 if the ALCS had ended that year with the Yankees clubbing the Red Sox 19-8 to sweep the best-of-five.
Sadly, Bud Selig isn't buying it:
Selig also downplayed any talk of expanding the first round of the playoffs from to best-of-seven series. He told team owners that expressed support of more playoff games they would have to cut regular-season games from the schedule -- something owners clearly weren't willing to do and the players' union likely would oppose.
"End of discussion," Selig said.
And meanwhile, last night's results suggest that the baseball gods have decided to take all my whining about the boringness of the three-game sweep and throw it right back in my face.
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