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If you want to know what the effects of the expanded playoffs are, why not ask the NBA?

While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive (and mostly free) online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audiencesend us your suggestion.

The additional playoff teams added to the mix this season might mean more money for MLB, as Jeff Bower explained by looking at the NBA's example in the piece reproduced below, which originally ran on January 28, 2003.



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March 5, 2012 3:00 am

Bizball: Baseball Cashes in with Expanded Playoffs

7

Maury Brown

Two more Wild Card teams might mean hundreds of millions more in revenue for Major League Baseball.

Love it or hate it, Major League Baseball is about to have 10 playoff teams in 2012. The deal to add the fifth seeds from each league into the playoff mix this season, as opposed to next, was something that was collectively bargained for as part of the new CBA. The question was only whether it would happen this season or next. The owners wanted it. Selig wanted it. The players were concerned about the schedule and travel, which was valid given that the 2012 schedule had already been finalized. The issue had been how to deal with any potential regular season tie-breaker games, squeeze in the new Wild Card games the day after the regular season ends, and still allow time for rainouts during the League Division Series and League Championship Series while fitting it all into a three-week window from Oct 3 to the start of the World Series on Oct. 24. Those concerns by the players were addressed as part of the discussions, although the risk is still there if Mother Nature (read: rain) wrecks the party.

There are (and will continue to be) debates about whether adding in the extra Wild Cards will be good or bad for the game. Certainly, Game 163—those potential tiebreakers in the regular season—may be diminished. But this much is certain: there will be millions of dollars reaped from the additional playoff teams being added. And, if stars align, the haul could amount to hundreds of millions. Here’s why.

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Rather than adding a wild card here or an AL team there, a baseball purist proposes blowing it all up and starting over with a solution that could satisfy everyone.

Believe it or not, most of our writers didn't enter the world sporting an @baseballprospectus.com address; with a few exceptions, they started out somewhere else. In an effort to up your reading pleasure while tipping our caps to some of the most illuminating work being done elsewhere on the internet, we'll be yielding the stage once a week to the best and brightest baseball writers, researchers and thinkers from outside of the BP umbrella. If you'd like to nominate a guest contributor (including yourself), please drop us a line.

Kevin Baker is a novelist and historian who is currently at work on a social history of New York City baseball, to be published by Pantheon. 

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