Added Wild Card Spot: Good for Pirates, Bad for Baseball


Bud Selig and company are changing up the postseason. It has been talked about for some time now, but it looks like it’s going to become official in the next few days.

The change is the addition of two more wild card spots, one for each league. That means that there will be two wild card teams in each league’s postseason bracket, who will have to play each other in a one-game series that determines who moves on to face the top seed (the division winner with the best winning percentage).

Here’s what the bracket will look like, drawn sloppily by myself and my Apple Magic Mouse:

those seedings are not necessarily correct, remember the rule that the Wild Card team plays the team with the best overall record, UNLESS that team is in their division, then they play the team with the second best record.

Make no mistake about it, this is good news for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Now they can win less games and still make the postseason. Here’s what things would have looked like last year had this rule been implemented for the 2011 season:

National League:

1. Phillies (102-60)
2. Brewers (96-66)
3. Diamondbacks (94-68)
4. Cardinals (90-72)
5. Braves (89-73)

The Cardinals would have played the Braves, and the winner of the one game series would have gone on to face the Phillies. That means that the eventual World Series Champions could have been knocked out in one game.

The American League would have looked like this:

1. Yankees (97-65)
2. Rangers (96-66)
3. Tigers (95-67)
4. Rays (91-71)
5. Red Sox (90-72)

The Rays would have played the Red Sox in the one-game series and the winer would have gone on to play the Rangers. That would have been quite an exciting game considering all that happened on the last day of the regular season with those teams.

While this will certainly add more excitement to the postseason, and possibly even the regular season, it really doesn’t make any sense at all to an unbiased party.

Baseball is among the most random games you can play. Team A can beat team B on any given day, and vice versa. Playing one game of baseball tells you almost nothing about which team is better, which is why I don’t like determining anything by one game. Obviously baseball can’t afford to add another five game series, because their postseason runs late enough into the year already, but I think it would have been better to just leave the second wild card team out of it.

As a baseball fan, I think this move is really stupid. As a Pirate fan, I’m ecstatic about it. You can’t complain about anything that gives your team a better chance to make the playoffs, fair or not.