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Everything’s coming up Bud

Sep 14, 2012, 1:24 PM EDT

Bud Selig Reuters

I’m still not at all fond of the wild card play-in game, in no small part because the wild card, since it’s been introduced, has quite often been the league’s second best team. I don’t think a team should be penalized for being in the wrong division.

However, year one of the new wild card format is giving us a lot more excitement than we might have otherwise.

The NL races would have been all but over with three weeks to go if not for the second wild card. The division titles are set. Sure, there’s a chance the Braves could collapse again and blow their big wild card lead, but it hardly seems likely. Even after losing three in a row to the Brewers, they’re still five games up on the second wild card-leading Cardinals with 18 games to play.

The American League, on the other hand, would have plenty of crazy races going on regardless. But the second wild card means there’s still some hope for the Angels and Rays, who would be pretty huge longshots otherwise. And while it is possible that the team with the league’s second-best record may well end up in the wild-card playoff game, it’s not like there’s any clear second best team in the AL right now.

Because of the second wild card, there are currently 19 teams with some shot at going to the playoffs. That’s a pretty amazing total with just 18-20 games left in the season.

  1. joshfrancis50 - Sep 14, 2012 at 1:34 PM

    It really is a remarkable photo.

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Sep 14, 2012 at 2:31 PM

      It makes me wish the MLB logo on the right would just swing the bat.

      Speaking of which, I have always thought of the logo as looking at the back of a RHB, but imagining him what Bud with his bat it looks like a lefty from the front. Should we put it to a vote?

    • kevinbnyc - Sep 14, 2012 at 3:07 PM

      Bud Selig: Adonis of Baseball

  2. simon94022 - Sep 14, 2012 at 1:39 PM

    The one game playoff is great, and it will drive interest in baseball even higher.

    Why do we care about unfairness to the SECOND best team in the league? 162 games have already proven that the Braves, for example, are not THE best team in the league — Washington definiely and possibly also Cincinnati and SF are better.

    The Braves and the other wild card are only there to complete the foursome. So if Atlanta has a bad day in the wild card playoff and gets bounced by the Brewers I really don’t care at all. If they want to avoid that possibility, they should try winning their division.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 14, 2012 at 1:54 PM

      Why do we care about unfairness to the SECOND best team in the league?

      Because many times the second best team in the league gets screwed and had to travel as the WC even though it was better than the third and fourth best teams, but was in the same division as the best team in the league.

    • Jeremy T - Sep 14, 2012 at 2:25 PM

      Second is still better than 3rd or 4th, and deserves to get some recognition for that fact. Unbalanced schedules already make it tough on teams in more talented divisions, and the play-in game makes it even more difficult (although the extra slot also could make it easier to get into that play-in game). Overall, I’d say it’s not a huge miscarriage of justice, but it is still notable.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Sep 14, 2012 at 2:34 PM

        Home field in the playoffs should be based on record…Even if that means a division winner travels to play a WC. I do like the play in game though. It is not so much about giving the proper reward to the teams as it is to keep the integrity of the games late in the season. Teams who have clinched a playoff spot are still playing for something.

  3. willclarkgameface - Sep 14, 2012 at 1:41 PM

    Bud wants to know if you like the way his farts smell as much as he does.

  4. pmcenroe - Sep 14, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    Bud Selig, your company’s computer guy

  5. kevinleaptrot - Sep 14, 2012 at 2:14 PM

    There should be a caption writing contest for that picture of Bud.

  6. stex52 - Sep 14, 2012 at 2:22 PM

    You say that like it’s a good thing, Aaron. You’re still left in the end with a one game playoff after 162 games.

    • pmcenroe - Sep 14, 2012 at 2:31 PM

      exactly if you can’t win your division you shouldn’t get a chance to redeem yourself in a one-game playoff

    • kkolchak - Sep 14, 2012 at 2:39 PM

      Yeah, why play 162 games? The whole wild card concept sucks in baseball, let alone this new one game wild card playoff abomination. It’s all about the Benjamins instead of rewarding the teams who made it through the marathon on top.

      • pmcenroe - Sep 14, 2012 at 2:47 PM

        yeah I say we go back to pre-1969 standards, no divisions. I don’t want lame ass World Series drama from WC teams like the ’97 Marlins ’02 Angels/Giants or ’11 Cardinals and I certainly don’t want a repeat of last years’ final day of the regular season.

      • kkolchak - Sep 14, 2012 at 3:48 PM

        Sounds good to me.

  7. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Sep 14, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    Conversely, it is possible that the best three teams could all be from the same division. Under the old system, that would have left the third best team out of the playoffs entirely. There are scenarios that can poke holes in any system’s valuation process. I think the one-gamer is exciting and gives the division winners some reward. Maybe they could eventually do away with divisional play and take the best 5 teams, with #s4 and 5 duking it out in the single game, but until then this is a pretty exciting system.

    • jjschiller - Sep 14, 2012 at 3:36 PM

      The whole problem stems from this artificial bracketing system of “divisional play.” We pretend that it doesn’t matter who’s better between teams from different divisions, so we make division opponents play 19 times apiece, but then we have this ridiculous wildcard that favors the second best teams in the weakest divisions.

      How about dumping divisions, balancing the schedule, and taking the best 4 teams, by record?

      Can’t think of a scenario where anyone gets punished unfairly there…

      • pmcenroe - Sep 14, 2012 at 3:46 PM

        except for players on a team like the Mariners who without divisions would have to log a ridiculous amount of miles per season. The reason for divisions is not just to balance competition but also to group teams by region therefore lessening team costs and putting less burden on players. There’s no mystery why divisions began when baseball started to expand west (hence the first divisions being East/West)

      • jjschiller - Sep 14, 2012 at 3:59 PM

        I guess I missed the part where the Mariners still travel by train..

      • pmcenroe - Sep 14, 2012 at 4:01 PM

        who said anything about trains? are air miles not a thing? is taking a red-eye flight across the country not taxing?

  8. dirtycrumbs - Sep 14, 2012 at 3:52 PM

    I too have been uncomfortable with the Wild Card era, but the additional WC team actually solves the problems of the original format.

    In the old system, WC teams were placed upon equal footing with Division Winners, thus cheapening the results of the regular season.

    (That said, the WC idea was still just, as a means to avoid unfortunate situations like the 1993 Giants…)

    With the new 1 game play-in, we ensure all deserving teams get into the playoffs, with the Wild Card winners rightly penalized for not winning their division.

    And: the new system also deals the team with the best regular season record a stronger hand, as they get to face a weakened opponent. I for one, have not enjoyed seeing so many of the seasons regular season champions getting flushed out after the first round. The new system helps correct this.

    Now, if a WC goes ahead and wins the World Series, it will be less of a fluke-y, cheapened champion, as that WC team will have had to work through significant disadvantages (i.e. the one game play-off and burning through the ace of your staff). It enhances the legitimacy of the World Series champion. This is good.

    All told, Bud has reason to strut. The new playoff system is an elegant solution to a vexing problem.

    • pmcenroe - Sep 14, 2012 at 3:57 PM

      and boom goes the dynamite

  9. dannythebisforbeast - Sep 14, 2012 at 9:20 PM

    Yea like he did it for excitement he did it for money. Add 2 more wildcards next year and 2 more after that. Until the whole league is in it until the end. Except the Astros of course. Make it like hockey where the 1 seed hardly ever wins it all. Why your at it cut the season in half and make the playoffs like 5-6 rounds

  10. leftywildcat - Sep 16, 2012 at 8:47 PM

    I was against the 2nd wild card from the start, but I guess we have to see how it plays out for a couple of seasons.

    We could designate spring training to be the regular season, and designate the entire regular season to be the 1st round of the playoffs. No sense letting the NHL and the NBA having longer playoffs than MLB!

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