As you probably know, the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers had to move their game to a late-night time slot on Sunday thanks to tonight's A's-Tigers playoff game. But why are the A's and Tigers playing tonight? They each had four days off after the regular season before their Division Series started Friday.
The MLB playoffs started with a single game on three consecutive days, the AL Wild Card Tiebreaker on Monday, the NL Wild Card game on Tuesday and the AL Wild Card game on Wednesday, before the NL Division Series started Thursday and the AL Division Series started Friday. This meant that the Pirates played three playoff games before any of the AL division winners played any.
A much simpler way to do things would have been to play both Wild Card games Tuesday in a blockbuster doubleheader, if the Rockies can play the day after their Game 163 in 2007, the Rays sure could have in 2013, with the two series not involving Wild Card teams, Braves-Dodgers and A's-Tigers, starting Wednesday and the Cardinals and Red Sox opening series against Wild Card teams Thursday.
A more compressed schedule like that would still have given division winners time to set their pitching rotations while limiting downtime and condensing the playoffs, lessening the risk of bad weather as the rounds went on. It also would have avoided any stadium conflict with the A's and Raiders and eliminated the whole "one team plays three games before others have played any" scenario.
The only significant drawback would be the possibility of having four games on an NFL Sunday, but competition with the NFL is inevitable in the fall. I'm not sure why MLB decided to drag the first week of its postseason out so much, but it is clear the schedule could have been better.
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