With three teams clinching their respective divisions last evening, it’s looking more and more that the case of adding another wild card team to the playoff mix is unfolding if a piece by Joel Sherman from the New York Post is correct.
While there’s been labor strife in the NFL and NBA, MLB seems to be getting down to business on putting together a new CBA. One of the provisions would be adding two more wild card teams, one from each league. It’s not a completely done deal, but Sherman has two separate sources indicating that the addition of the two teams to the MLB playoffs is evolving into an extremely likely piece.
Here’s how it would all work…
It’s really quite simple. The two wild card teams would square off in a one-game playoff with the winner advancing on to the LDS. After that, it would depend how the CBA would define the matchups.
Personally, I hope they change this as well. I am not a fan of the current stipulation that two teams from the same division cannot meet in the LDS. I realize there’s chance the wild card team could post a better record than at least one of the other league division winners, but why “penalize” a division winner (in this case, the #3 “seed”) by having that team play the team with the best record? Of course some would say I’m still banging my head over the Reds loss in last year’s NLDS. Not in the slightest.
This year could be the exact same in both the NL and the AL with the #3 team (lowest winning percentage among division winners) having to face the team with the best winning percentage in the LDS. If the wild card team is just that, a wild card, that team should face the team with the best record and division should have no bearing. None. If you think about it, the reward for winning your division could mean you face your league’s top team? That’s just nuts.
There are concerns here though as Sherman points out.
"Nevertheless, there had been a lot of management officials who are concerned that a team would spend six months and 162 games to earn a playoff spot, and be eliminated in one game. This group felt it would be particularly unfair if, for example, one wild-card team won significantly more games than another and was ousted in a one-game playoff.Both sides agree, by adding a second wild card in each league they are bolstering the importance of winning divisions because no club would want to settle for being a wild card and have to play an extra round of playoffs; especially a one-game playoff."
Kind of makes my point a little clearer. It should be that way now.
Sherman also states that while the addition of another wild card team is all but a slam dunk (pardon the roundball reference), there are other factors to be addressed and/or negotiated. Among those are realignment with each league having 15 teams and a “slotting system” for the draft.