MLB Hits A Homer With Wild Card Expansion

Commissioner Bud Selig has botched a lot of things in Major League Baseball during his tenure.

But, you must admit, Selig has hit a home run on some other things, especially adding the Wild Card to the postseason.

Many baseball purists were against it when Selig added a single team in each league to the playoffs.

Then two years ago, when it was announced that baseball would add yet another wild card team in each league, some bellyached baseball was going overboard.

Those people couldn't have been more wrong. The first year of wild card action was good, but this year has been great.

With a week to go, it's a smart move to have so many more teams in the mix for the postseason. There's nothing better than having meaningful, pressure-packed games at the end of September.

While the National League spots appear to already be snatched up, the American League is a completely different story.

With six to seven games to go (depending on the team,) you have six teams still fighting for just two spots. It keeps baseball fans in a lot of cities into the game all the way until the end of a long season.

With Tampa Bay, Texas, Cleveland, Baltimore, the New York Yankees and Kansas City still fighting for those two spots, there's a chance we could even have a playoff game or two next Monday if there are any ties.

Fans in Cleveland have to be thrilled. Last year this time, the Tribe was playing out the string en route to a last place finish (68-94).

This year, they've not only pushed the Tigers all season in the AL Central, they still have a shot for a postseason berth.

The same can be said in Kansas City, a once-proud baseball town that hasn't even been able to play .500 ball often over the last 15 years.

Yet, here they are. From a fourth-place finish in 2012 at 72-90 to a real live playoff push.

Tampa Bay didn't secure a playoff spot despite winning 90 games a year ago. But they also have a shot, but only because of the wild card addition.

The same for the Yankees and Orioles. Both made the playoffs a year ago, both are on the bubble in 2013.
The Yankees, despite losing four everyday players for most of the season, have their own destiny in their hands. As it stands right now, Tampa Bay owns one of the remaining spots.

On Tuesday night, the Yankees host the Rays for a three-games tilt at Yankee Stadium.

The Yankees finish the regular season with three games in Houston against the Astros, the worst team currently in the majors.

No one wants MLB to turn into the NBA or NHL, where basically half the league makes the playoffs. When you do that, you make the regular season almost meaningless. Only 10 of the 30 MLB have a chance for a playoff. Better yet, only eight have a shot to win a World Series. 

That's the best part about the addition of the second Wild Card. The two teams play each other in a single elimination game just to join the three division winners in each league. Rightly, you get rewarded for winning the division.

So basically, it's a play-in game to get to the postseason tournament.

And while some think it's unfair, a single game to determine advance in the MLB playoffs, it really works. Better, there will some added excitement to kick the playoffs off.

For sports fans, there are few things better than a winner-takes-all game. It's exciting to watch edge-of-your-seat, must-see TV­, even if your team isn't involved.

For once, it's easy for fans to say, "Thanks, Bud."  

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