MLB Wild Card Format: An Ace or A Joker?

Bobby Lemaire, Staff Writer

   If you are a baseball fan, then there is no better time of year than October. The playoffs are in full swing and only the best teams are playing each other for a shot at the World Series. But Major League Baseball made a small change to the playoff format that made things unfair. Commissioner Bud Selig decided to add a second wild card team to each league. Now, the two wild card teams face off against each other in a one game series, where the winner advances to the next round. MLB has a grueling 162 game reg- ular season schedule. The thought of making the first round of the playoffs as a one game, winner take all matchup comes off as simply ridiculous.

   For proof of just how ridiculous this new format is, look no further than the two inaugural wild card playoff games this season between the Baltimore Orioles at the Texas Rangers, (for the American League) and the St. Louis Cardinals at the Atlanta Braves (for the National League). In both instances, the home team or the team with the better record lost. In the National League game, the Braves lost due to a questionable infield fly call by the third base umpire, killing a potential Braves rally. If the playoff format that was in place last year was still in place this year, both the Rangers and the Braves would be playing in a five game series, while the Cardinals and Orioles would be at home watching with their families.

   The only reason that Selig implemented this new format was to have an extra game in which the league can generate money. Due to the fact that the league is now making more of a profit, it is unlikely that we will ever see the old wild card format again. So, I have a proposal that will both benefit the league and give a more deserved advantage to the team in the first wild card spot. Instead of a one game playoff, there will be a best of three series. But, different from the later rounds, the higher seed will be home every game, in order to eliminate an off day that would be used for travel purposes. Then with the addition of an extra game, the possibility of a third game will give baseball even more revenue.

   While old-school baseball fans aren’t fond of baseball going until November, a three-game playoff would be the fairest way to make sure the team with the better record has an advantage that they worked so hard to get throughout the regular season.

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