September 7, 2010

Verducci: MLB should have two wild cards in each league

Sports Illustrated writer Tom Verducci just posted a convincing argument for adding another wild card to each league, creating a “Wild Card Elimination Game” in which the loser goes home and the winner advances to the Division Series to play the team with the best record.

I like the idea. A lot.

One of the points he made that I strongly agree with was the Yankees and Rays aren’t in any real race right now, but they could be. Sure, one team will get to play the wild card, but both teams can choose to rest their players with the comfort of knowing they’ll play a five-game series.

Add another wild card spot in each league and the Yankees and Rays will fight hard to win the AL East and avoid a one-game, sudden death playoff.

Verducci said he already had run the idea by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig. His response:

“I don't like the season coming down to one game,” he said. “You play 162 games and it all rides on one game. I'm not sure that's fair.”

That’s the only counterpoint I can think of, and I don’t think it’s very strong. As Verducci mentions, baseball has lacked tight playoff races, win-or-go-home games and good TV ratings down the stretch.

One-game playoffs are more exciting than five- or seven-game playoff series are. I’m not advocating all playoff series should be one game, but a couple extra guaranteed March Madness-style games each year would add a lot of excitement.

What do you think? Is Verducci on to something? Or is there too much at stake for one game in a 162-game season?

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