With two weeks left in the regular season, the hunt for October is in full swing, and numerous teams are hoping to add at least one more game to their schedule. The second Wild Card allows another team to have a shot at winning it all, which has created additional buzz and excitement, but not all of the buzz has been positive.
"I hate it," Nationals manager Davey Johnson told USA Today a year ago when asked about the Wild Card format.
Not only has Davey Johnson been critical of the Wild Card format, where the two Wild Card teams face off in a one game playoff series, but players have also voiced their displeasure.
"Hopefully, that's one of the things they'll change," Pirates All-Star relief pitcher Mark Melancon told the Boston Globe.
While some managers and players might not be in favor of the current format, I love it. It puts an emphasis on winning your division, while rewarding the division winners with an extra day to prepare and allow them to set their pitching rotation for their first series.
This format also creates additional excitement to the end of the season. Right now in the American League there is six teams within 3 1/2 games of each other for their right to extend their season by just one day. In the National League, the Central is going to come down to the final days of the season with the Cardinals, Pirates and Reds all competing to win the divisional crown.
If it was not for the one game Wild Card playoff series, there would be little importance on winning your division. Instead, it would be a best two out of three series, causing division winner to have to wait an extra two to four days just to play their first playoff game. This would cause teams to play for the Wild Card spots instead of their division, which would eliminate the excitement of division races that come down to the wire like we have this season in the NL Central.
Although some people might not be in favor of the current Wild Card playoff format, it is the best thing for baseball. It creates excitement with multiple teams competing to the end for the possibility to extend their season by just one game. The hunt for October is an exciting time in baseball, and with the current playoff format it adds even more.