Random thoughts admittedly have shown up here before, or on other sites where I’ve left comments. But the time is dwindling down before it will inevitably become reality…so now I have no choice. The time has come to dispense my venom about Major League Baseball’s plan to increase the number of teams in their post-season from eight to ten.
One of the things I always felt about Baseball’s playoffs was how very special they were, feelings directly and obviously proportionate to the lack of teams that qualified for them. 30 teams playing leisurely from April to October…with only a handful getting to advance to the very sudden, very big stage. Drama.
The Wild Card plan which Commissioner Bud Selig is currently trying to force-feed into the 2012 Schedule is allegedly necessary because Baseball wants to give a greater reward to its six Division winners.
Only nine Wild Card teams have even made it into the World Series since the concept gave birth in 1995. Only four have won it all. I’m not sure what the panic is all about.
The “obvious” solution to penalizing the Wild Card designation and hindering their advancement? Create two more Wild Card slots.
The real reason here. Two more Wild Card slots makes Baseball lots more money.
You might be able to talk me back off the ledge if they were adding a couple more Wild Card teams and then letting them play “the existing ones” in a 3-of-5 series but no…the reason why I’m dangling so high up is because Baseball has decided after playing six months and being awarded a rare opportunity to play for a title…one additional game will now suffice for a “not-as-worthy” team to advance…to the same format we already have now.
Bud is telling us the teams really, really want this. There just isn’t enough of a premium to winning a Division title…and the variance between winning one and being a Wild Card isn’t varied enough.
But now, it is perfectly acceptable to award two additional teams the title of Wild Card team…for one day.
The mission is simply that these additional post-season berths will mean more teams will hopefully be in the running until the last pitch of the regular season…and fans will continue to come out (i.e. spend more money) and support them.
There is little concern of the already-established, television-induced insanity in meandering through six months of Baseball only to then compress the all-important post-season into three weeks. We already have had a taste of how weather and logistics affect things…and teams that fight for Wild Card or Division berths already have to adjust pitching rotations to try to qualify as it is (keeping one eye on the potential next match-up)…and now potentially will have to play multiple tie-breakers in the days after the regular season ends (ties for division titles will likely be broken now by actual games instead of head-to-head records)…then four teams will play in a “Wild Card Knockout Game” the following day…then play in a game against a Division winner…say the day after that?
Don’t forget those regular-season make-up games that might need to be played BEFORE any games noted above.
Let’s take one final swing quoting the words of World Champion Manager Tony LaRussa, one of four former/current Managers on Selig’s committee discussing all this:
“But if you’re one of the clubs that has an opportunity to secure a Wild Card, I’ll take the disadvantage to just have a chance. I’d play a day-night doubleheader.”
Does Tony mean he’d play two different teams on the same day? Would that doubleheader be in two different cities? Notice he did say it would be a “day-night doubleheader.”