Baseball is my favorite sport. The World Series is my favorite season-ending sporting event. This year's MLB post season play was engaging. Nothing like a game seven (except maybe in the NHL). Neither of my favorite teams were playing (Reds in the NL, Indians in the AL), so I could just watch and enjoy the game for what it is, removing favoritism emotion.
Watching Madison Baumgartner return as a relief pitcher in the fifth inning (after pitching a complete game shut-up on Sunday and a seven-inning, three-hit, one-run performance in game one), and give up zero runs on only two hits, was for the ages. The Giant's 3-2 victory over the Royals last night have shown the Giants to be a great team, winning three championships in five years. But it got me thinking...
Both Kansas City and San Francisco were decent during the regular season, both qualifying for the post season through the wild card option. Kansas City was 89-73, a game behind Detroit, who won the AL Central. San Francisco was 88-74, six games behind the NL West winning Dodgers.
The wild card option, popular in most American college and professional sports -- NFL, NCAA, NBA, NHL -- makes for an exciting season-ending tournament. But the unattended consequence is that the regular season becomes nothing more than a qualification window. The goal is to qualify and get hot at the right time...anyone can win.
So why are we all paying gobs of money for season tickets when the regular season is diminished in importance? So we get first dibs on post season tickets?
The World Series use to be the American League Champion versus the National League Champion in a best of seven event. It matched the best team in each league over 154 (162) games.
MLB will probably go the way of other major American sports by adding additional wild card teams, giving more teams a chance; i.e., more money. The World Series has become just another season-ending tournament. The best team is not the World Series Champion, rather the team that got hot at the right time.
So with expanded post-season play, do us all a favor, go back to 154 regular season games.
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