Urgency of Wild Card Game Helps Boost the Major League Baseball Playoffs
Major League Baseball teams battle for 162 games over 182 days over the regular season, and it can all be taken away in just one playoff game. However, it's the perfect way to start the postseason.
Three years now into a new system implemented by MLB to add an extra wild card game and the league is experiencing a boost in ratings. The "do or die" situation that is now created has also brought a new buzz to the game.
Traditionalists don't like the new format. Traditionalists would prefer the league drop the extra wild card team and go back to just one that gets in and have four teams play on each side. Really, what is that benefit? The best team doesn't win? Sure, they also didn't play well enough during the season to win the division.
Having a one game playoff has added more importance to the regular season. Winning the division means even more now, as the teams are guaranteed at least to play a series. Not to mention, the division winner also insures that their ace starting pitcher gets to play the first game.
The wild card team still has the opportunity, but they face a uphill battle that they deserve. Win and move on, or lose and have the season come to an end. The urgency to gain the one win has changed the strategy of the game and has made the postseason more entertaining for fans.
Yes, the process has now become random in terms of one team getting in over another. Yes, the best team doesn't always win the wild card game. When it all comes down to it, it's all about the television revenue and the fans that are buying the tickets. There is more interest in "do or die" games than game one of a series.
With 162 regular season games, the interest from game to game isn't as high as other sports in the USA. Starting the postseason off with two games that determines spots of the postseason is the perfect kickstart for fans. Let the momentum of the postseason continue to ride into the upcoming series.