Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Winning the A.L. East or any Division does not provide much of an advantage over securing the Wild Card. But it should because it means something to the fans. MLB needs to bring back the importance of winning your division. Adding another Wild Card team into the October mix would bring back the glory and competitive advantage of winning your division as well as other opportunities.
The two sets of Wild Card teams should play one-game in order to face the team with the best regular season record. The outcome in one game would determine your fate after 162 games. It would bring added excitement to many fans in September when interest is fading. Top teams would be fighting for the division as they would want their club to have the advantage of added rest and aligning your starters. The current improbable but mathematically possible playoff contending fans would see more hope. If this was the case, the Sox would not be taking these last few weeks so casually.
MLB would be okay with the plan because greater fan interest equals increased revenue. The Player’s Association would agree if they got their “fair” piece of the pie. Since the games would be new and not a part of a current contract, MLB could have the networks bid for the broadcast rights or they could give to themselves a.k.a. the future MLB Channel.
The new October schedule even makes this logistically possible. The two one-game play-ins are each played on Tuesday at the better Wild Card teams park. The winner of the play-ins has to travel that night for Game 1 of the ALDS the following day. In most cases, the Wild Card winner will be at a starting pitcher disadvantage and possibly have a bullpen pen issue too. The one-game play-in is going to be played like it was Game 7 of the World Series. This gives the Division winners and the club with the best record a significant advantage over the Wild Card.
In some cases, a Wild Card team would have a better record than a Division winner. On the surface, it would be unfair, but the unbalanced schedule and inter-league play clouds the evaluation. It does put more importance on games within your Division and creating better rivalries.
On the whole, a simple change of adding another Wild Card team and making them play one another has little if any downside. It would increase fan interest and revenues in September and better reward the Division winners.
This post made possible by TicketLiquidator, your broker for baseball tickets and other cheap tickets.