Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Extra Wild Cards?

Since I have been out of commission for the past week or so, I have not had an opportunity to touch upon Bud Selig's latest change to Major League Baseball. Last week, the commissioner, who instituted the original wild card playoff system in 1994, announced his plan to add an extra wildcard for each league starting in 2012. In order to not prolongue the season too much, the plan is to have the two wildcards from each league play each other in either a single game playoff or a best of three series.

I have heard both support and criticism of his idea. Personally, I think it is a great idea. Baseball lacks a marquee event like other sports. There is no Masters, or Super Bowl, or Winter Classic or March Madness for baseball. They rarely have one of those games where you must sit down and watch. If they decide to make this plan a reality, they will have one almost every year. If they decide to make it a single game playoff, then every year there will be two games on the schedule that are must watch. The atmosphere around deciding games are always electric, and this would guarantee two of such games.

With that being said, I believe that instituting a best of three would be an ideal situation for Major League Baseball. This would still be the playoffs, and because of that it should be a series, even if it is only best of three. In this case, each team would have to rely on at least two starters. Both leagues should play two days after the last day of the regular season, and should be scheduled to play three consecutive games. The first game should be a day game, and the second a night game. Baseball is made to play during the day. The playoffs should be able to get back to its roots, which is day baseball. In this system, there would be day baseball at least two days of the playoffs.

Tim Lincecum has come out in opposition of the plan. He says that Selig did not take players into consideration, and also said that "the game has been this way for so long." Actually, Timmy, the game has only been like this for 17 years. That is a very small portion of a long baseball history. Lincecum went on to say "Nobody wants to have to worry, 'Oh (expletive), now I've got another (expletive) team in the (expletive) mix." That is such a flawed argument I can't even begin to explain. Basically, he is saying more competition is a bad thing. Why would it be bad to add more teams into the playoff hunt?*

Major League Baseball is falling behind the NFL and NBA, and it needs to do something that will add more interest. They will always have a good base in cities such as Boston, New York and Philadelphia, but he needs to find a way to attract to some smaller markets. Adding more teams into the playoff hunt, as well as adding more marquee games, should do just that.

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