It definitely shaping up to be one of the most memorable Wild Card race and Wild Card collapses in recent memory. The Red Sox were a half game out of 1st place in the AL East, and on pace to win 98 games as of September 3rd. Now, they are tied with the Tampa Bay Rays for the AL Wild Card tonight and need Tampa Bay to lose tonight to the Yankees to keep their season alive. Boston is playing the Baltimore Orioles. The Atlanta Braves had an 8.5 game lead in the NL Wild Card three weeks ago. They are tied with the St. Louis Cardinals with the same scenario as the Red Sox.
Now for me, this has been a great season to watch baseball. Aside from the fact that the Phillies have pretty much dominated and secured the best record in baseball, this Wild Card race has been nothing short of captivating. Who would have thought that the Red Sox, a team that many people (even Whiz Wit writers) picked to go to the World Series would be in as bad of a slide as they are in now. Boston can't seem to buy a win. (See what I did there?) Atlanta seemed to have their playoff spot locked up less than a month ago, but their struggles, coupled with a surge by the Cardinals has made the NL Wild Card race almost as exciting as the AL's.
Among all of this is MLB trying to increase the amount of teams entering the playoff bracket. Um why? Why take away from the excitement of a collapse, or of a streaky team in September. Now I know Moneyball teaches us that there is no such thing as hot streaks, or being "clutch" but I still believe in it. Teams that get hot in September can really make a push to and through the playoffs.By adding another team to the playoffs, MLB would be rewarding teams like Boston and Atlanta for having solid regular seasons, with absolutely awful Septembers. Also, if MLB was to add a whole extra series for the extra teams, the 1st place team has to sit, and then the World Series extends either further into November. And no one wants to play baseball in New York or Philadelphia in October let alone November. I believe that MLB was discussion the ideas of either adding another series or having a so-called "play-in" game. But we could have a proverbial play-in game if the teams in the race have the same records after tonight. Thus adding to the excitement.
My advice to MLB would be to keep the structure the way it is. All 162 games count. Let the teams battle it out to the end. If a resurgent team like the Cardinals takes advantage of the Braves misfortunes (I won't cal it a collapse as of now). Adding that extra team would take away from this kind of excitement during September when fans interest is peaking after somewhat of a drop in interest during the middle months of the season.
What are your opinions? Leave the Playoffs how they are? Add two Wild Card teams?