Rob Neyer has an interesting suggestion to the wild card dilemma. I’ll quote him since this is a quick-hit piece that won’t get archived:
My gut feeling is that there are plenty of postseason berths already. Any more, and we’ll be veering dangerously close to NHL and NBA territory.
However, Tom Hirdt has suggested adding two spots … and you know, I think it’s at least worth considering.
The idea is that you’d have two wild cards per league, and they’d face off in one-game playoffs the day after the season ended, with only the two winners advancing to the Division Series.
The benefit, of course, is that the division races would necessarily be meaningful, because nobody wants to be stuck playing one game with everything on the line. What’s more, even the winner of that game would be at a significant disadvantage, without the benefit of a game off before the Division Series. And that’s as it should be; the wild card should not begin the postseason on anything like equal footing with the division winners.
I’ll admit, I haven’t thought through all the ramifications of this idea. But let’s think about it.
Interesting indeed. That would give people the AL West race they wanted, and would put both Seattle and Boston in play as well. Over in the NL, the Astros would have had a decent chance to overtake the Dodgers for the last playoff spot. And whatever else you might say, a one-game winner-take-all playoff is certainly exciting.