The Los Angeles Dodgers Cody Bellinger scores ahead of Chris Taylor who hit the game winning two run home run in the bottom of the ninth on Wed Oct 6, 2021 at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles in the NL Wild Card game to advance to face the San Francisco Giants in the NLDS on Fri Oct 8, 2021 (AP News photo)
The Wild Card Game – Will It be History?
That’s Amaury News and Commentary
By Amaury Pi-González
Major League Baseball Wild Card game was added to the postseason in 2012. I would be surprised if the powers to be, maintain the Wild Card Game for years to come. Once in a while, you get a great result that makes justice from a Wild Card game. Best example: the LA Dodgers who won 106 games and finished second to the 107-win-season of the SF Giants defeated the St Louis Cardinals and therefore the Dodgers advanced to what should be an epic showdown in the National League Divisional Series against the SF Giants. These great rivals (only surpassed by the Yankees vs Red Sox rivalry) will face each other for the first time in a postseason since 1883 when both franchises played in New York.
(History) In 1951 both the NY Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers finished season with identical record. Played a NL 3-game tie-breaker series to decide the winner. In game three Giants Bobby Thompson hit the walk off home run known as “Shot ‘Heard ‘Round the World”. I believe the Wild Card should also be a 3-game series, not a one-game win or go home.
In a sport where you play a 162 game season, there is no reason than a team that finishes with 106 wins, which could have won anyplace except their own division, has to play an elimination game in order to stay alive in the playoffs.
It just doesn’t make any sense. If the Cardinals would have eliminated the Dodgers, everybody and their uncle, would be talking today about it and forever. Okay, so everybody agrees that baseball is a marathon.
A marathon is a a race of 26.1 miles. Have you ever seen a marathon where the winner is then asked to run a 100 meter sprint with the guy that finished behind, to decide the race?
This 2021 was a great season for baseball, specially after a covid-shortened 60 game season last year. A week ago there was a chaotic scenario in the American League, where a total of 4 teams could have finished in a tie fighting for two (2) wild card spots.
That did not happened, but it will repeat itself under the current playoff structure. Although I understand the other opinion, where people say “that’s a lot of fun” to have a half dozen teams involved at the end of the season, prior to the postseason.
A lot of casual fans, the ones that do not attend baseball games with frequency, love to watch a game where one team celebrates and the other team cry. It is the thrill and drama of a guaranteed conclusion.
We can all expect more changes in baseball in the years to come and I cannot say today that the Wild Card game is here to stay. The season will come to an end later this month and we will crown a new champion. The most exciting game in baseball is not the Wild Card game, the most exciting game in baseball is the seventh game of the World Series. Period.
Amaury Pi-González elected the Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame (BARHOF), Cuban Sports Hall of Fame (Miami), Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum Hall of Fame, Advisory Board of ASA (American Sportscasters Association) NYC, Broadcasting sports for over 40 years, and does News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com