I love the electricity of postseason baseball. It is like a jolt of adrenalin to the grand old game, especially after you live through the grind of a 162-game schedule.
But it does seem cruel for a team to fight its way to the wild card game, have virtually no rest, and then have to play so quickly, where it is truly one and done.
Baseball added an additional wildcard team a couple of years ago, creating the play-in concept. The extra wildcard slots in the two leagues, refueled baseball interest in late August and into September, times when the NFL would take over the sports calendar.
Not recently though. A year ago, we had 8-teams fighting for postseason spots the final week of the season. This summer, we finished off with a battle for wildcard spots, and also homefield advantage in the divisional series too. The final Sunday of the season, game 162, had direct impact on 8-different clubs.
But it does seem unfair that one and done seems so acceptable. Would it might not be better to have the wildcard be a best of three? Make the divisional series, a best of five. The AL-NL-CS become best of seven, and then onto the Fall Classic?
The Cubs play the Pirates tonight. Excitement in Pittsburgh is everwhere, more recently they went 20-years without a postseason appearance. And of course, all things Wrigley Field are wrapped around the Curse of the Billy Goat, and the Cubs hope to win tonight to take a step forward in erasing that memory.
The Buccos however have gone to the wildcard game two years in a row, only to get knocked out. Fatigue seems to have overtaken them.
Last night, it all caught up to the Yankees, when the Astros went into New York-hit a couple of homers early, and shutout the Pinstripes. The Yankees stopped hitting and their wafer-thin pitching staff fell apart.
Baseball has done lots of creative things to hype up the game. Attendance and revenues are at an all-time high. Interest is everywhere. The wildcard race on top of the pennant race is really fun to watch.
But it sure seems to come up short when you realize ‘Drama-then-Defeat’ is the end result of a ‘1-and-Done’ playoff format. Maybe MLB should address that as the next thing to make post season even more interesting.