YOU TALKIN’ TO ME – SEPTEMBER 25
By ISM Staff

DOES MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL NEED TO MAKE THE WILD CARD PLAYOFFS BEST OF 3 INSTEAD OF ONE GAME

Gentlemen, and I’m talkin’ to all of you, this seems like a no brainer to me.  Major League Baseball should definitely expand the Wild Card game to a best-of-three instead of the current one game contest and here’s why.

If we look at the American League this year, and I know for Brooklyn and South Beach that’s almost a sacrilege, this isn’t a problem.  As of today, with each team having eight games remaining in the regular season, it’s a horserace.  The Red Sox have a one game lead over the Yankees for hosting the Wild Card game but, as Lee Corso would so, not so fast my friend.  Seattle and Toronto are only two games back of New York with Oakland still mathematically alive four games behind the Bronx Bombers for the last playoff spot.

\No problem there, right guys?  Now, let’s go to the National League where the scenario is completely different.  Right now, the Dodgers would host the Cardinals who, by the way, are red hot riding a 14-game winning streak.  Philadelphia, five games back, and Cincinnati, six games behind, as well as San Diego, seven games out, are big time long shots to say the least but still in the hunt.

Here’s my dilemma, my astute colleagues.  Los Angeles has the second best record in the Big Leagues sporting a 99-55 log.  The problem is the best team is baseball is in their division with San Francisco posting a 100-54 record.

One of these two teams will win the NL West and get the automatic berth to baseball’s second season.  The other will have to host a one game Wild Card contest and, if we do the math, that team would be Da Bums hosting St. Louis if the season ended today.

LA would be forced to win a one game playoff over a Redbird team that is 14 games behind them right now.  That’s like stopping the last lap of a race, with one runner having a 300 yard lead over the rest of the field, and putting the second place contestant even with the leader for the last 100 yard sprint.  That just ain’t right, is it, Mass Man?

So, in the future, I believe baseball needs to go to a best-of-three Wild Card playoff just to avoid this situation.  If San Fran or LA lose, look for that to happen next year.  Let’s hear your thoughts because I am talkin’ to you.

Low Ball, the National League’s second wild-card team will have won approximately 20 fewer games than their opponent in a one-game playoff.  So, absolutely there needs to be a playoff series instead of one game to decide whose season continues.  The route to making the MLB playoff stronger begins with a truncated season.  Playing 162 games is too much and forces the league to squeeze in the playoffs.  If the MLB season were reduced to around 150 games (as it was years ago), it would allow time in late September and October for longer series, including wild-cards.

I would think we all agree that MLB Wild Card teams make the league better.  Heck, I can still remember a time before the Wild Card and my beloved 1985 Mets won 98 games and didn’t qualify for the playoffs.  98!  So, the idea that the route to the playoffs does not require winning a division is a good thing for teams, fans, and even the trading deadline.

The 2021 season will probably produce the first 100 win Wild Card team that could lose in that one-game playoff.  It is definitely interesting and compelling.  Yet, mostly unfair to that team.  So, if MLB reduced the season by 10 games or so, they would have time on the calendar to allow a more sensible, fair playoff system for division winners and Wild Cards alike.

With the NFL dominating American sports in September, maybe it is time that MLB looks at ending its season even before September and make the fall exclusively for their playoffs that they could logically schedule?  What do you think about that, fellas?

Adam Sznapstajler

First of all, I definitely want to agree with Brooklyn; the MLB season is too long. Just look at the excitement of the shortened 50 game season in 2021. I’m not going to say go back to 50 games again but shortening the season will definitely raise the importance of each game.

I have to say that since the first addition of the second Wild Card team, I thought there should be a three game series. Often the second Wild Card team has been far behind the first and has the same benefit as the first Wild Card team in only having to win a single game.

As everyone seems to agree on the three game series, I think there’s another important factor that should be added. Make the higher ranked team the home team for the entire three game series. This should help ward of much worse Wild Card teams from making it through. It also would force strategic pitching decisions, more than in just one game.

I think MLB has a lot of work to do but, as Mass Man has mentioned, this could just be another way for MLB to add revenue, which is oh so important nowadays.

Now, one day, hopefully I can see my Marlins in there.

Guys, the MLB Wild Card games have always been an exciting way to start the postseason and give baseball fans a taste of what’s to come as the World Series approaches. The idea of a 162 game season coming down to 1 win-or-go-home 3 days later puts a lot of pressure and makes way for anything to happen during that one game. One game with everything on the line to start off the playoffs is a great way to begin the Fall Classic and get fans to tune in and watch, but I’m with Low Ball on this one. I think it would be smart for the MLB to change the Wild Card Game to a 3-game series.

Even though I am a huge fan of the Wild Card games and look forward to watching them at the start of every October, it makes too much sense for the MLB to change the tradition. The most exciting part of the season for baseball is the playoffs, so making the playoffs longer would only benefit Major League Baseball. Also, to have a 162 game season all come down to one game early in the playoffs sometimes means the better team doesn’t always advance. Anything can happen on any night which gives any team a chance to move on from the Wild Card game. Take, for example, the Dodgers this season. As Low Ball already mentioned, the Dodgers have been on a tear this season and the only team that has a better record just happens to be in their division. Wouldn’t the MLB want to do anything they can to ensure one of the most historic and star-studded teams in baseball gets as much screen time in the postseason as possible? If the MLB wants to ensure that their best product is out on the field in October, extending the Wild Card series to 3 games would help ensure that happens. 

Also, the MLB would also be able to generate more money off ticket sales, concessions, advertising revenue, and TV ratings if they extend the wild card game to a series. Baseball’s biggest critics claim baseball’s regular season is too long and filled with meaningless regular season games. If baseball shortens the regular season, maybe extending the wild card series to three games would help silence the critics and allow the MLB to make back the revenue they would lose from shortening the regular season. Yes, extending the wild card game to 3 games might take away from the hype and excitement that the wild card game currently has, but if it makes money and ensures that baseball is showcasing their best product when it matters most, it makes sense.