The MLB postseason kicks off tonight with the National League Wildcard Game, which is followed tomorrow night by the American League Wildcard Game. While this still feels like a new event in the baseball landscape, the one-game first round of the postseason will actually be played for the eighth time this year. That is longer than I would have guessed!
Anyway, whenever this time of year comes around there is passionate debate about whether or not the Wild Card Round only being one game is actually a good thing. Just based on my conversations with baseball fans in person and on the interwebs, I’ve always gotten the sense that opinion is very split on the matter. If I really had to guess, I’d probably have said more people dislike it than like it, but of course people who dislike something are generally louder about their opinion than those who are just content with the status quo. We put this to the test on this week’s Fanpulse poll, asking a simple question. Do you like the Wild Card Game just being that single game?
I guess I was a little surprised to see the “yes” crowd win this vote, but it was obviously close. This obviously comes down to what you’re looking for in a postseason. If you want to see the best teams rewarded for being the best teams and the results of October be an accurate reflection of who was the best team that year? Well, then you won’t like this. Anything can happen in one game. The Orioles, one of the worst teams I have ever seen, won 54 single games in 2019. Anything can happen, and that makes it inherently unfair.
I am on the other side of the coin, though. I watch baseball in general to be entertained, and I especially want madness in October. I want the tension at the highest levels possible, and having this opening round be a do-or-die situation accomplishes just that. The Wild Card Game rules. I should of course mention that the Red Sox have never played in one of these, so it’s easy for me to say how rad they are when I’ve never actually been thrown in the fire. As a neutral observer, though, I am psyched for these games and am very glad they exist.