I like the one-game Wild Card playoff. I think it is a refreshing addition to Major League Baseball, where series tend to drag on longer than The English Patient. This afternoon you get the Cardinals versus the Braves, and tonight you get the Orioles against Texas. The brevity of the one-game is astounding in simplicity, and in my opinion it should be expanded.
Yes, those long-winded seven-game NLCS and ALCS are like the zombies in Night of the Living Dead. They drag their feet and take us into a World Series that plods on into November. No offense to baseball, a game I truly love, but they are pushing deeper into the football season and I find it really distracting and annoying.
MLB should take note of how NFL playoffs work. You build up to one exciting game, you play it hard, and boom, you have a winner. The one-game Wild Card is a distant relative to this type of game, but it makes great sense to me to shorten other baseball playoff series. I guess I’m dreaming to have it come down to one game, but why not at least scale-back some of the other series?
We do not need a five-game NLDS and ALDS. We just don’t. Give us a one-game, winner-take-all thing just like the Wild Card game. Scale the NLCS and ALCS back to a best of five games series, and then go with your best of seven World Series. To me it makes the most sense for the players, for the fans, and for baseball.
These days we get to the World Series, and all the other playoff games that precede it seem to take the wind out of its sails. I always watch, even if my beloved Mets are not involved (which has been the case going on 12 years now), but lately I have lost interest. The lengthy playoffs test even the best fans of other teams. Yes, you’ll watch your own team, but you just cannot invest all that time in the other teams—at least I cannot.
Oh, yes, people will cry that it is not fair. They want more games. But why? Why does anyone want baseball in November? If the World Series makes its way north to Minnesota, for example, we’ll have the players in boots and using shovels to hit the ball. This is not baseball as I know it. They used to say, “The Boys of Summer.” That’s when the game is supposed to be played, not deep into autumn.
Of course, those who stand to make a profit want baseball playoffs to be increased. I know baseball commissioner Bud Selig mentioned the one-game Wild Card as for this year only, so in all likelihood that means it will be expanded to at least five games in the future, maybe even next year.
So we are now looking at a World Series being played on Election Day or maybe even dragged out past Veteran’s Day. With rain-outs (or snow-outs) this could go on and on, even until Thanksgiving. Imagine eating your after turkey dinner pumpkin pie and having to choose between watching the World Series or football?
The one-game Wild Card is the best idea baseball has had in a long time. In a sport where “good ideas” tend to be something like the designated hitter, which still makes no sense to me, let’s not squander it. In a sport known for its long-windedness, let’s put brevity on the table and make things move quicker. I say let’s expand the one-game Wild Card. It’s time to bring the fun and excitement back to MLB. It’s your call, Mr. Selig.
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