I’ve been hearing a great deal of talk about the one game wild card playoff in baseball. Talking heads are complaining how one game just isn’t enough after a one hundred and sixty two game season.
One hundred and sixty two games. (I thought I’d spell it out to help illustrate just how many games that is.)
One hundred and sixty two games spread across six months… One hundred and sixty two games over one hundred and eighty three days… That’s half a year. (For those of you scoring at home.)
That isn’t enough time for a team to determine their playoff destiny?
Of course it is. A team needs to be consistently good across the entire season if they have any chance of making it to the playoffs, not to mention advancing once they get there. It’s not completely rare for a team to lead wire, but it is rare for a team to not hit a rough patch somewhere in the season. (Beer and chicken anyone?)
Teams can start slow and right the ship and cruise into the postseason. Or they can slump after the All Star Break and find their groove again and secure a spot. Hell… a team could fall apart at the end and limp into the playoffs. But what really counts is consistently winning the games they should win and the games they need to win. (Take notes Rangers.)
Teams who do this should be rewarded.
Back in the day there was no wild card. Then there was one wild card. Now there are two… and as a friend of mine pointed out, this makes it harder for the wild card team to get to the ALDS, and that’s a good thing.
Why should a wild card winner be seeded the same as a division winner?
How is that fair to the team who took care of their shit and beat everyone they were supposed to? (Again Rangers… heads up.)
In the NCAA men’s basketball tournament the #1 seed plays the #16 after their play-in game. It’s the same with the MLB wild card now. (Hell, this year the Rays have two play-in games.)
If you’re going to slip into the playoffs through the backdoor, you should have to play an extra game to face your opponent. No one complained about game 163 when there was one wild card, so why complain about it now? (Cause some men just want to watch the Louisville Slugger burn I guess…)
One argument against the one and done is games being determined by a bad call like how Atlanta
got what they deserved screwed over last year… but that’s a larger issue that clearly needs to be addressed. The umps just aren’t what they used to be, and I can’t help but feel there’s better talent out there who won’t instigate arguments to spare their wounded pride after a bad call. (If I were commissioner, I would have broken that union like my first retainer… but I digress.)
Many of these so-called pundits are saying it needs to be at least three games… and then the peanut gallery starts yelling that three games isn’t enough for a series… So should we keep playing into December? I think these Depends wearing geezers need to let go of history and stop trying to protect the sacred tradition of baseball. (Leave that to Sheriff Brian McCann and his posse of D-Braves.)
I try to focus on the drama and excitement that comes with a do or die playoff situation. No one complains about the NCAA tournament… but I guess only playing 35 games give or take makes it easier to swallow when a team goes out in a heart breaking upset in the first round. (Duke excluded… that’s always easy to swallow And ask for seconds.)
Think about the Rays this year… say they win it all. Two play-in games, ALDS win, ALCS win, WS win… as my same friend mentioned (I only have one), what better story could you have than that? None. That’s what.
In a world where everyone gets a trophy and a happy meal… let’s make a team work for the wild card and enjoy every second of them earning it.