Bud Selig, always equal parts evil and incompetent, is using this year’s lack of pennant race drama to push the idea of adding another Wild Card team in each league.
Why, Bud claims, if only there were more playoff teams, the whole country would be abuzz with excitement. Twitter’s trending topics would be filled with fans of Tampa Bay and St. Louis hashtagging the shit out of the Wild Card race.
All of baseball’s problems would be solved! Payroll disparity won’t matter at all because so many more teams will be in contention!
Finally, Bud Selig’s lifelong dream will come true: he will have rendered the regular season almost irrelevant. At long last, baseball can take on all the worst qualities of the NBA and NHL. Wonderful.
If Selig and his band of minions have their way, the two Wild Card teams in each league will play a one- or three-game series before advancing to the final four. In other words, a playoff format already too driven by luck, chance and small sample size will get even worse. And longer.
And what benefit will baseball reap in exchange for fucking up its post-season? Using 2011 as an example, exactly one more team would be in contention in the American League: Tampa Bay. The Angels would be competing for the 2nd Wild Card in addition to the AL West. In the NL, virtually the same scenario: St. Louis would be given new life, and San Francisco would be chasing two playoff openings instead of one. In 2010, adding a 2nd Wild Card would have allowed the Red and White Sox to compete down the stretch in the AL, and the Padres to easily lock up a spot in the NL.
For that, baseball’s going to throw everything into disarray? For that? Not exactly the thrilling Utopia Selig promises. Are the Cardinals and Rays so good this year that we can’t imagine a playoff world without their involvement?
Baseball had shitty luck this year as far as distribution of wins across teams, and the result is a season of lackluster pennant races. It happens. It’s a fluke. It’s not a reason to panic, or to allow Commissioner Buddy to steamroll legitimate objections to his ill-conceived plan. If anything, a better idea would be to eliminate the Wild Card altogether and go back to two playoff teams in each league. Such a move would inject drama into races (like this year’s AL East) in which two teams are assured of playoff spots and merely jockey for position down the stretch, with no true harm to finishing second.
Baseball’s current owners and players have a vital responsibility: outlast Bud. Don’t let him ruin the game before he dies. It’s that simple.