The wild card in major league baseball. Hmmph. When it was first introduced there was much discussion of what it did to pennant races. I recall Bob Costas' book Fair Ball making the convincing case that divisional pennant races were now a thing of the past. But, at the time, I didn't know just how right he was.
The Yankees and Red Sox finish the season tied in the Eastern Division at 95-67. Do they have a one-game playoff a la 1978? Will there be a Bobby Thomson / Bucky Dent moment for the fans to cherish or rue?
Nope. Since the Yanks and Sox both were guarenteed post-season seeding, a playoff for the division title was judged unneccessary. The New York Yankees were declared division champs and the Boston Red Sox were declared the wild card team based solely on their head-to-head confrontations during the season. The Yankees won the head-to-head games 10-9.
Now, of course, when two equally talented teams play an odd number of games there's bound to be a "winner" of the head-to-head match-ups. That the Yankees won 10 of their 19 contests doesn't make them the obviously better team. The Red Sox finished with an equal overall record which means that they did better against some other teams than the Yankees did.
Baseball isn't like football where the outcome of a single game can be anticipated right down to a half-point. Baseball's season is 162 games long, not 16. Obviously a one-game playoff wont decide which team is better, but it'll at least, as far as the standings are concerned, give us a REAL division winner, not an arbitrary one.
They finished the season tied, yet one is the division champion and the other is the wild card. I think they should have had to play this afternoon for those honors regardless of what difference it wouldn't have meant to the post-season match-ups. But I'm just an old "purist", I guess.
y-Red Sox 95-67
Rediculous.Posted by Tuning Spork at October 3, 2005 10:50 PM | TrackBack