Major League Baseball is apparently moving forward with its plan to add a second wild card in each league to the postseason. Starting in 2012, two wild card teams will play a one-game playoff following the season for the right to face the number one seed in the Division Series.
While typically a traditionalist when it come to fooling with MLB’s format, this move is a huge step in the right direction for a sport that was once the unquestioned king of the sporting world. Since being surpassed by the NFL, MLB has done little to increase fan interest in a sport that is seen as slow and tedious when compared to football or basketball. Adding more teams to the playoff mix will create fan excitement in cities that previously would have lost interest by July.
Fans want to see expanded playoffs, just look at the other three major sports. They have successfully added teams to the postseason, giving more fans a chance to entertain the possibility that their team can win it all. In College Sports, this even more evident. NCAA basketball has 68 teams make the postseason. College Baseball has takes the 16 best teams in the country and puts them in a round-robin playoff. I don’t even need to point out the screaming every year for a playoff system in college football.
In addition, I absolutely love the one-game format. This puts a premium on winning the division, and adds an element of suspense to teams who may unquestionably make the playoffs, but whether they are the division winner or a wild card is still up in the air. The exceitement of a one-game playoff is like starting out a series with the seventh game and final game.
There is nothing better in sports than a “win or go home” mentality. Kudos to MLB for finally joining the 21st century of professional sports.