Ahead of Game 1 of the World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday, Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred gave his annual state of the game address with the Associated Press, and he discussed plenty of topics.
Manfred made it clear that he and the owners of teams around the league would like to keep an expanded postseason format and the extra-inning tiebreaker rule going forward.
"I like the idea of, and I'm choosing my words carefully here, an expanded playoff format," Manfred said. "I don't think we would do 16 like we did this year. I think we do have to be cognizant of making sure that we preserve the importance of our regular season. But I think something beyond the 10 that we were at would be a good change."
MLB implemented those rule changes for the 2020 schedule to make the 60-game season more practical amid the coronavirus pandemic. The expanded format allowed the league to recoup some lost revenue through extra playoff games and the tiebreaker rule helped avoid unnecessarily long games.
The league cannot implement an expanded postseason without approval from the Players Association, though. They could use an expanded postseason to ask for greater compensation from the league, including higher salaries, among other things.
When it comes to the extra-innings rule, Manfred believes the players liked it. The league placed a runner at second base to begin each extra inning to promote run-scoring and avoid lengthy contests.
"I think the players like it," Manfred said. "I think it's really good from a safety and health perspective that keeps us from putting players in situations where they're out there too long or in positions they're not used to playing."
With the pandemic still going on and no end in sight, the MLBPA may have to agree to certain rules for the 2021 campaign even if they don't necessarily want to. We'll just have to wait and see.