MLB Wild Card Teams forced to play Russian Roulette

By Jeremy Sickel

I would like to personally congratulate Commissioner Bud Selig and Major League Baseball for being proactive in their attempts to broaden the appeal of America’s Past Time and bringing the game of baseball to a more sensible level of play. We wrote a piece here (insert our 10 ways to make the game better link) a while back highlighting 10 suggestions that we think would not only allow the game to maintain its current standing amongst the sporting landscape, but possibly give it the kick in the pants it desperately needs to inch closer to NFL levels of popularity.

Some of the idea we provided are points of emphasis that are being looked at by MLB and could begin implementing as early as next season, but one that stood out is the addition of one Wild Card team per league. The way that this will play out it is that the two teams with the best records that did not win their division will play in a winner take all, one game series for the right to advance to the Divisional Series.

With any change comes controversy, and while I love the forward thinking with this concept, I am wary as to how it will be received once it arrives at our doorsteps. Sure, it sounds great now; one extra team gets into the playoffs for a chance at a magical run akin to the St. Louis Cardinals this past season, but is a one game series going to provide any justice? The first thing that popped into my mind upon hearing of the news was that they have added a play-in game analogous to the NCAA Basketball Tournament, and hardly anybody thinks those added any value to the greatest post season tournament there is.

I am sure the much of MLB’s motivation behind this decision is an attempt to recapture the magic and excitement that we all witnessed on the last day of the regular season this past season. However, that thrilling conclusion was unprecedented and will likely go unparalleled in our lifetime. Instead of trying to artificially catch lightning in a bottle again, why not give the Wild Card teams a real shot at the title with a shorter 3 game series instead of forcing them to play with only one bullet in the chamber?

Contact Jeremy at jeremy@popflyboys.com and follow him on Twitter @kcpopflyboy

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