Cleat Geeks

Should MLB Make Wild Card 3 Games?

The post-season is almost here. Fall is in the air, the days are getting shorter and the leaves are changing. So should the MLB wild card play-offs.
I understand the drama it creates when two teams have to lay it all on the line for 1 night like a heavyweight boxing match and just trade shots back and forth while strategizing for the perfect counters. It makes for great television. But when you play 2, 3, and 4 game series for the entire season, then in the 1st round of the play-offs you play only 1 game? Seems a little unfair. One team is going to fight and claw just to make the play-offs. 2 of the 4 teams who are involved in the Wild Card play-off will not even get to celebrate a play-off game and that extraordinary atmosphere with their fans, because only having 1 game means only visiting 1 ballpark and 1 fanbase. Again, doesn’t seem quite fair. However, the opening round of the play-offs needs to be unique and have the ability to draw the fans in from the beginning, especially the fans who just love baseball from all the other teams who did not make the play-offs. But, I think I have a way to make it unique, make it a little more fair, and actually make it more enjoyable. Here is my plan…….
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Turn the Wild Card into a 3 Game Series– But, play all three games in only two days to not mess with the play-off schedule too much. This is also the unique part that I think will draw people into the play-offs no matter what team you route for. Plus, it will give the higher seed in the Wild Card 2 games and the lower seed in the match-up 1 possible game. An exciting game. Let me explain further.
Image result for mlb wild card 2017 yankees
The higher seed team should get a home day night double-header. So on the same day as the scheduled 1 game play-off, just do a day night double-header. This gives the higher seed team a guaranteed 2 games and all the influx of money that comes with it. Plus, if the lower seed team can win 1 of the 2 games, then they get to play a home game in front of their deserving fans the next night. And not just any game, the series deciding game. If the higher seeded team does not want to have to play the lower seeded team at the lower seeded team’s ball park, then simply win both games of the day night double-header. Actually, with this format, both games 2 and 3 would have the same winner takes all feel as the 1 game in the current system. This would actually make for more drama, better television while also being more fair to the two teams involved in the wild card round.
Image result for mlb wild card 2017 yankees
Advantages and Disadvantages of a Double-Header- I am sure there are going to be more than a few people who think this proposed system is also unfair. Those critics are going to say that it is very difficult to sweep a day night double-header. Let’s look at some numbers before everyone goes crazy with this proposed plan. Using data from Retrosheet, that there have been 231 doubleheaders from 2008 to 2017. How many were sweeps? 120. That’s approximately 51.9% of all double-headers. For a recent perspective there have been 14 doubleheaders and just 3 have been sweeps in the 2017 season. This is a large sample size, but I am not naive to think that in most of those 231 games there were bench players used as starters, where in this senerio, more than likely there would not be. Therefore the outcomes may be different but I would not think drastically so.
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Teams who have a pitcher who is deemed an “ace” have a much better shot at winning a winner take all game, this proposed 3 game senerio would help even out that playing field. Plus, those teams with very strong bullpens would have a distinct advantage in a 1 game play-off system if used correctly. Where, especially in the day night double-header game senerio, those teams may actually have a disadvantage when it comes to match-ups and use of the bullpen considering that you just played 162 games and then you play 3 games in a 2 day span thereafter.
Image result for mlb wild card 2017
A Team With A Better Record Is Actually A Lower Seed–  This season for the American League the teams just fall into place record wise with the Indians (102-60) Astros (101-61) and Boston (93-69) being the top 3 seeds followed by the Yankees (91-71) and Twins (85-77). But in the National League this season, that is not the case. The 1st wild card spot belongs to the Arizona Diamondbacks, who finished with a record of 93-69 actually had a better record than the division winning Cubs at 92-70. Personally, I think it would be a big injustice to the league as a whole if this year a team with a better record only plays 1 play-off game instead of at least 3 when they finished the season with a better effort on the field. However, if MLB went to the 3 game wild card play-off as I have laid out, that would be a more fair proposition as well.
Now, I would like to know what you think. Leave your comments below. Thank you for reading and enjoy every pitch swing and slide of the MLB postseason!

3 Comments

  1. cdawkins

    October 3, 2017 at 6:33 am

    I’ve said for a while: MLB will extend the WC round to a three game series, but that’ll most likely be years from now. Until then, teams who have to play the one game just need to do their best to win it.

  2. Linda Haudrich

    October 3, 2017 at 9:03 am

    Yes it should be 3 games

  3. Louis

    October 3, 2017 at 11:36 am

    Easy solution….just call it what it is…. A “play in game” instead of the “first round of the playoffs”. Also what would be the point of this proposed 3 game series? If it went 3 games most likely all your pitchers would be exhausted and the winner would have NO chance against who ever they played in the second round.

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