I noticed Dodgers fans were already bitching to protect themselves even before first pitch about the unfairness of the playoff system that saw their team win 106 games yet faced with the indignity of having to play in the Wild-Card Game. Followed nicely with Yankees fans complaining last night, because nothing happens until it happens in New York and L.A., right?
So fine, let’s fix this in a way that MLB will never adopt. What fans have to realize is that the six divisions are their own competitions, especially with the unbalanced schedule. Having teams from different divisions compete for the same playoff spots isn’t fair, because they play different schedules. We want to decide things from teams that have gone through the same schedule, because that’s the best way to judge who deserves what.
Because playoff expansion is coming, let’s just accept it. Here’s how it should look but never will: The three division winners in each league go to the Division Series as they do now. And then we’re going to deposit all three second-place teams into the wild-card round. No competing with each other, no having to worry about losing out to a team that gets 19 games against the Orioles or 38 games against the Cubs and Pirates or whatever else. Three first-place teams, three second place teams in each league.
Then what? Oh, you’re going to like this. We’re going to let MLB artificially create the chaos we were rooting for last weekend, because they love to do that. The three second-placed teams will be randomly drawn into that A-B-C lineup that would have happened if three teams had tied for the last wild-card spot. A and B play one game, the loser of which plays C, and then the winner of that game plays the winner of the first game for the wild-card game.
Yeah, it could be a lot of travel, but maybe you combat that by having all three games take place at one of the stadiums of the three, also drawn randomly. Or maybe that extra travel is the advantage the No. 1 seed gets. Either way, we’re not comparing different schedules. All second-place teams are treated equally, and have to win two games, while possibly having to travel three times, just to get into the main draw. They can’t bitch about unfair systems. They’re in this mess because they weren’t as good as someone else in their division, and the random draw gives them the same odds as the other two teams.
It’s also different, and the random draw on the Sunday night of the last day of the season for the three wild-card games could be a huge draw.
I’ve fixed it for you. Now marvel how it won’t happen.