In the old days the 2-3 format for a 5 game playoff worked great when teams didn't earn home-field advantage. Back when it alternated every year by division, it was a great compromise. Sure, one team had fewer home games, but they started at home and were guaranteed at least two. Another team got more home games and got to finish at home, but they had to start on the road and were only guaranteed one home game. There were pluses and minuses for both sides.
But that doesn't work when home-field advantage is supposed to be an actual advantage. So when teams started earning that privilege based on their records, they quickly switched the more advantageous 2-2-1 format.
Except this year. With the new wild card, the opening games in Japan, the unbalanced leagues, the calendar, and Bud Selig's desire to have as few World Series Games in November as possible, the Division Series were switched back to the 2-3 format. They just closed their eyes and hoped it didn't end up screwing the Yankees, because everyone knows that anything that screws the Yankees leads to Armageddon and immediate rule changes.
But screwing the A's, well that brought joy to Bud Selig and Lew Wolf's cold steel hearts. After winning six straight at home, rather than build on that momentum by starting the playoffs at home, the A's, in spite of having a better record than the Tigers, had to travel to Detroit for two cold-weather games on the road in less than 24 hours. Now they limp back to Oakland down 2 games to none with only a shred of a chance of advancing.
But that's good for Bud Selig and Lew Wolf. They can't have them actually win because it would expose as bullshit any argument any team makes to tax payers about needing a new stadium to remain competitive. If the A's with the second smallest payroll in baseball, a starting rotation of rookies, and a stadium deemed unfit for baseball, can win it all, then anyone can.
So why should Oakland or San Jose build them a stadium? Why should any city build any team a stadium? They shouldn't. San Francisco didn't, and the Giants built their own beautiful park across the Bay.
Now you might think that if the A's don't win it this year, they'll be even better next year given how many rookies are on the team. Think again. As soon as the season ends, Lew Wolf will trade all of the rookies for other rookies who hopefully won't accidentally make it to the playoffs next year. He can't field a good team that people might actually want to come see play. If that happened, he might have to keep the team in Oakland.