A night like no other: Let’s learn something

As social media newsfeeds are blowing up with general excitement over the tremendous night of baseball that just was, one thing becomes painfully obvious to me:

Baseball needs to add another wildcard, immediately.

No, I’m not just saying this because the Jays are mired in a difficult division where they must contend with the Yankees, THIRD PLACE Red Sox, AMERICAN LEAGUE WILD CARD WINNING Rays and heck, even the gritty, BOSTON-BEATING Orioles.

No, I’m not suggesting this as a Blue Jays fan, I’m suggesting this as a baseball fan.

Tonight was downright exciting. Diehard fans tuned in to watch the game, fairweather fans tuned in to watch the game, I’m sure even some people who don’t ever watch much baseball even tuned in once they realized the magnitude of what was going on. Basically, many more eyeballs were interested in taking in these games because they had playoff implications. Unless, of course, you are a baseball fan in Tampa, in which case you probably either didn’t show up to the ballpark, or left halfway through (SERIOUSLY how were they not able to fill their ballpark with such a big game against the Yankees? But, I digress, back to the topic).

Quite simply, more playoff positions to vie for will automatically mean more late-season games that have playoff implications and more baseball buzz. Normally, I wouldn’t pay much concern to the last game of the season and to be honest, I didn’t even realize the Jays’ last game of the year was an afternoon affair and I didn’t end up seeing it.

That being said, tonight I was jacked up for the games and while I ended up missing the first parts as I was at work, I caught the most important parts at the end and gave my remote a workout switching from one game to the next, while subsequently wishing my TV had picture-in-picture-in-picture.

So, Bud Selig, whatever has to be done, let’s get some more teams in playoff pushes late in the season. Let’s give some new franchises the opportunity to be contenders. Let’s set up scenarios where with a week to go in the season there could be half a dozen teams still in contention for one remaining playoff spot. Let’s bring back some regular season excitement to a game that can start to get a little slow for fans of teams that aren’t perennial pennant contenders. 

Let’s add another wild card spot to each league.

It really seems to be a no brainer to me.

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6 thoughts on “A night like no other: Let’s learn something

  1. I’m not sure where you get the idea that simply having more wildcard spots makes the races more exciting. It COULD make the last few games more exciting, but it could also be decided by the last week of the season. In fact, it could ruin any drama. For example, if there were 2 wildcards in the AL, the last games wouldn’t have mattered. Both the Rays and the Red Sox would have already clinched them. Last night would be moot. The closest team would be the Angels who were 4 games back. In 2010, there was really no contest for the first wild-card spot, but the Red Sox and White Sox were within a game of each other so there could have been last night heroics here, but it would be only a single spot on the line not two. In 2009 it was the same as 2010, except with the Tigers and Angels being the two teams that would have been tight for a 2nd wildcard.

    Not to mention how you create a playoff structure with 5 teams.

    My point being that adding more playoff spots does not create more exciting finishes. Your argument is simply an emotional response to a single night of excellent and exciting baseball (well, not for Red Sox fans, but you get the point).

    • Well the format being bandied around is that the wildcard winners would play off in a one-game play in, so by that token there would be more drama as each and every year there would be a one-game play-in, game 163 of the season that would sure to be a big fan favourite.

      There would also be a wider number of teams in a playoff push, as just as an example, normally if the wild card team is 4 games up with a week left in the season, for example, unless they are Boston, they will clinch that without much drama. If a bunch of teams were close in second place all those teams would still actually be in a pennant race if they couldn’t catch the first wild card team.

      You can pick any scenario and say where it might not create more drama, but it’s a simple fact more teams will be involved longer, which will keep more fans watching baseball into the last couple months of the season, as well as giving some franchises who might not have previously had a great shot at the playoffs (JAYS!) the opportunity to earn one of these spots.

  2. Couldn’t agree more – last nights baseball was one of the more exciting evenings in recent memory and while I agree with the addition of another wildcard spot (or one each league), I also think there should be some sort of system where the new wildcard spots go to the next two best teams regardless of league and division. This will definitely ramp up the tension across MLB during Sept and hopefully add more meaningful games.

  3. I’m not opposed to expanding the playoffs but, if they’re going to do it, I’d rather see two teams added in each league rather than one. Top two teams get a bye and the rest play a best-of-three first round. That’d give more teams a chance and it would the best regular season teams the advantage they deserve as they could be rested and could set their rotation as they see fit.

    • Yeah you don’t want to open it up too much though, then it becomes too much like hockey when mediocre teams make the playoffs each year.

      Division-winning teams would still have an advantage, because they wouldn’t have to subject themselves to a one-game play-in type scenario.

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