Up until last night, I had no opinion of this. My team, for the past two seasons, did not need to play in this round so I never gave it much thought. But this year, this was their only entry into the dance and I started to wonder whether or not this was a fair format.
After watching last night’s thrilling and tough loss, I have to say I am on board with this game.
The initial gripe I had heard was that the addition of an extra Wild Card team would dilute the playoff chase in September. Looking at what we had this season, I still had interest in it. Also, giving two more teams a chance to make the postseason to me is a good move. Open up the gates a little for the other teams.
The biggest issue that I had heard was that the opportunity isn’t fair. I agree. One game isn’t a fair measuring stick for either team to see what they’re worth. But then again, this puts a premium on winning the division. And in a sense, it might benefit the Wild Card team.
Look at the Nationals. Their season ended on Sunday. Their next game is Friday. Their opponent, the Giants or the Pirates, will have at least a game in between that time. Creatures of habit need some habit and the Giants or Pirates are in a better situation in terms of avoiding rust. Not by much, but it’s there.
The unpredictability of this one game is also exciting. All hands on deck. No second chance. All the chips are in. It actually kind of helps get the postseason started off with an essential Game 7 feeling. It sucks for the team that gets eliminated, but that’s part of the format now. Win the division, you don’t have to worry. Don’t win the division, prepare for an extremely tough ride. And that’s fun to watch.