MLB's second wild card



Took my first look at what the Shot-Callers are saying.  Was quite surprised at how serious the groundswell is.

Not surprising at all that Bud Selig -- the man who cried for mercy for 20 years in Milwaukee -- would sympathize with the poor l'il baseball fan in Seattle.  Was a little surprised, though, that he slammed down the uncompromising demands that he did.

Was even more surprised to grok that the 30 owners have a clear consensus on it.

And the most surprised that the union is going to rubber-stamp it, without trying to lever the concept into side payments to its advantage.

So, it's 2013 or even very possibly 2012.  


=== Chuck Armstrong 'As Long As We Have Edgar, I Favor the DH' Dept. ===

Perhaps no teams in baseball are as desperate to see the WC2 as are the expansion sisters Seattle and Tampa.  Think about it.  Texas, Boston, New York and perhaps Philadelphia are the only monster trucks grinding over the loose dirt of their own divisions.  Teams from the AL Central can reasonably plan on trying to win their own divisions.  Same goes for teams in the NL West and Central.


=== One-Game Playoff ===

Fans scream bloody murder about the idea of a 1-game playoff between the #4 and #5 seeds in each league.  But I have an inkling for it, and I'll tell you why:


1) A 1-game playoff is a coin flip ... maybe a 60-40 loaded coin, but 60-40, one game, that's a coin flip.

I approve of this.  This instantly devalues the Wild Card to about 50% of what a division win is worth.  Right now the Wild Card is worth about 90%, 95% of a division win.

Under the 1-game playoff, with division winners earning a bye, you've got a 2:1 ratio in value going.  That's a perfect ratio for me.


2) It creates a deliciously nuanced subplot in the last week of the season.  The WC candidates would have to try to position themselves to get their Felix or Verlander or Price positioned for the Wild Card game.

This sub-theme would be unique in baseball history, would add freshness and electricity to the dash to the wire.  (Wild Card teams could complain that this penalizes them, having to use Felix to survive the WC, but again, winning the division should be rewarded.)

Can you afford to mix up your rotation in the last week?  Well, as the #5 team, have you earned yourself a margin of 2-3 games?  Do you want to risk it?  All of this would make for awesome baseball intrigue.


And note that the #4 seed would thusly gain a nice advantage over the #5 seed.  It's much more likely to be in shape to rest its ace.


Even further:  note the added value that the Cy Youngs of the game receive under this baseball system.  Dr. D approves of this also.  Memorable sports moments revolve around the legends of the game.  Last night I watched a 1993 Sonics-Rockets replay, with Akeem the Dream just losing in Game 7 ....


=== Gimme 1995.  Another Six or Eight Times ===

Most fans will say, "at least make it a 3-game series.  Then skill will prevail, rather than luck."  Maybe, but a 3-game series is pretty much a roll of the dice, too .... how often do the teams split 1-1 anyway?  So why not just cut to the chase and pile the intensity into the one game?  

Plus the division winners don't sit around and get stale.

You don't like playing Russian Roulette in one game, fine.  Win your division.  If you slink into the postseason through the back door, you have to face a 50-50 firing squad.  Survive that, and you get total forgiveness.  I like the way it separates bona fide division winners and chumps, let's say the 2012 Mariners, sliding in through the WC.


You could argue the options 80,000 ways, as far as what's "scientifically best."  I'm just sayin'.  I'd love to watch a #4 team play a #5 team, one game.  You could have 1995 every year.

My $0.02,

Dr D



I'd love to watch a #4 team play a #5 team, one game.  You could have 1995 every year.
There's a "step into the future to get to the glorious past" aspect of this, too, Doc.  You touched on it, of course.
1. The Wild Card becomes much less valuable than a Division Championship, as it should.
2. The history of baseball is replete with one-game playoff (or playoff-like) games.  Man, while every year might be like 1995, even better, it might be like 1978 and every light-hitting infielder might become a Bucky "Fricking" Dent. 
A great idea.


There are negatives to that, or any, format, but baseball is entertainment.  I'm infatuated with the 1-game idea.
Love the 50% devaluation that WC #5 offers to start with, and love the idea of teams gearing up to get their Godzilla vs Mothra opening day starters positioned....
Big fun...


The sportswriters, almost by themselves, bemoan the loss of the old races in which two 100-win teams battled it out and one 100-win team stayed home.  Didn't SF and LA do this several years back, or who am I thinking of?
Rebut:  Even if this is a demerit ... all plans have merits and demerits.  The 5th WC has the merit of creating meaningful baseball for about +5 more teams per league per season.  
That, to me, outweighs a New York writer's desire to see a late-season do-or-die series between Boston and New York.
Rebut:  Do YOU want to see a 100-win team excluded from October?  I don't.
Rebut:  the late games are NOT played lightly, even though a team has cinched the playoffs.  ... did you see the 116-win Mariners easing off in late September?  Do you ever see any walkaway team approaching Sept. 25 like the games don't matter?  No.  They want the maximum wins possible.
Rebut:  You could emphasize a "regular-season pennant" if you chose to.  In Europe they emphasize that, almost more than the championship tournament.
The Mariners hang division flags even though they lose in the playoffs.  You could hang a "pennant" flag -- simply announce a new trophy and flag and have promote it.
It's not farfetched.  In Europe it's the reality.

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