So Thomas Boswell, the venerable sports columnist for the Washington Post, decided to write a reaction piece about one of the greatest single days in the history of baseball, and got everything completely backwards.
In the strange recesses of Boswell’s mind, the crazy, glorious night of baseball we just witnessed is clear evidence that baseball should go to two wild cards in each league next year:
With the drama of Wednesday… fans discovered all of the good reasons the sport should expand its playoff format to 10 teams. Two more wild cards is a fine timely idea. The sooner, the better, like next year. Everything that happened the last day of the season showed why.
Say what? If Boswell gets his way, all the excitement and craziness that happened on this Wednesday night would have meant absolutely nothing. Because both the Braves and the Red Sox would have securely wrapped up wild card spots a week ago. These would have been just to random games full of scrubs as the teams saved up their players for the postseason.
And let’s be real here, would anyone besides those teams’ own fans really want to see the Red Sox and the Braves in the playoffs now… after how terribly they played down the stretch?
I get so tired of hearing people spout the idea that more playoff teams means more excitement, as if it’s an obvious point hardly worth justifying with evidence. Sure, it’s kind of exciting for the fans of crappy teams that get to be in the postseason anyway, but more playoff teams almost invariably means *less* excitement for the sport as a whole. This is why the second half of the NBA season is so boring and meaningless – way too many playoff teams, so most teams wrap up their spot by the end of January.
So count me as decidedly against adding two more wild card teams. That’s just two more mediocre squads that don’t deserve anything. I could sort of get on board with one wild card in each league, because the way baseball is set up with 6 divisions, there is usually a really good team each year that was screwed by being in a tough division, but I have yet to see a year where there was more than one such team in each league.
With two more wild cards, we’re going to see a lot more horribly undeserving teams, like this year’s Braves and Red Sox, back their way into a playoff spot, and we’ll have even fewer real pennant races than we do now.