The Pirates won 98 games this year. The Cubs won 97 games this year. They were the 2nd and 3rd best teams in all of baseball. They just had the misfortune of being in the same division as the best team in baseball, the Cardinals.
It was the first time in MLB history that the top three teams in baseball were all in the same division. That means it was a statistical anomaly. The whole format shouldn’t be changed just because the Pirates got the short end of the stick one year. Look at the AL Wild Card with two teams with 87 and 86 wins — that’s not that impressive.
Rather, what I’ve been proposing for a while now is to change the Wild Card to a 3 game format, not just because my favorite team keeps getting stuck in it. Six months of hard work, sweat, and effort shouldn’t come down to a coin flip one game do-or-die.
Look at 2014’s Wild Card game against the Giants. Madison Bumgarner was not going to be beaten by the reincarnation of the ’27 Yankees. But the rest of the Giants rotation was eminently beatable. Last night, the Pirates had to face the cybernetically-enhanced metahuman designated ‘Jake Arrieta’ with the hipster beard upgrade. They lost (spoiler alert). But I would have taken my chances against Lester and Hammel versus Liriano and Happ.
There are a plethora of ways to tackle the Wild Card Reformation Project, but here are two:
- Shorten the season back to 154 games (hop into the DeLorean and set the flux capacitor for 1961!). Now you can have a 3 game series spread over five days with a travel day between each game. Plus the season won’t go past Halloween, most likely.
- In lieu of the teams complaining about lost revenue, even though they would just up the price of ticket accordingly, reduce the season to 160 games. Each team would only lose one home game. The season would be extended by three days, so MLB would have to be willing to start the season on or around April 1st, regardless of it being a Sunday night or not.
After wandering through the desert of MLB for 20 years, having the Pirates involved in postseason play of any fashion is an unadulterated treat. This is not pure sour grapes, as there are plenty of people from all MLB fanbases griping about this. The wild card and then the advent of the second wild card team have injected so much enthusiasm into so many different franchises and their fanbases — it just needs tweaked a little bit.
P.S. — This post is short and not entirely interesting, but that’s what happens when your team loses in the Wild Card and your originally scheduled post about the Cardinals is voided. Plus there were no other posts ready in the queue. It’s better than my other idea to drape the homepage in black today.