Sunday, May 22, 2005Play-In Would be Wild?
I actually love the wild-card system. It makes sense considering all the regular-season games that a few more teams should enjoy the playoffs.
But in Don McKee's baseball notebook, he thinks that the wild-card teams have it easy, almost too easy and there's very little reward in winning the division.
Nothing against Anaheim, Florida or the sainted Red Sox, but those of us who still are hardball purists find this slightly off-putting.
The wild card is a good idea. It keeps about a dozen cities thinking baseball through the media uproar that accompanies the onset of football season.
But obviously, the reward for winning the division is far too small. Something needs to be done to roughen the road for the wild-card teams and smooth the path for the suddenly pitiable Yankees and Braves.
The best idea out there is to have the best two runners-up in each league meet in a one-game "play-in."
This idea (advanced on numerous fronts the last two years) would impose a steep penalty on the wild-card teams and thus reward the divisional winners.
Teams almost certainly would want to avoid the play-in game, to avoid the drain on their pitching staffs, and that would create real pennant races through the final week of the season.
It's an interesting concept, but again. I don't feel like baseball is a single-elimination type of sport. It's a game that rewards adjustments and changes over a period of time.
October Baseball Needs Play-In [Philly Inquirer]