Friday night, Twitter was abuzz with the memory of Game 162 from the year before. Remember that? I called them the “Greatest Games Ever Played.”
The Mets were done with their season earlier that day, and I was still attached to the television. I couldn’t keep my eyes off the games. Thank goodness for MLB Network that night. I was able to see the Curse of the Andino take place, the Rays beat the Yankees (where even Yankee fans were rooting for the Rays), Cardinals won (and went on to win the World Series) and the Braves lost.
It was the best of times.
Then Uncle Bud Selig decided that we needed a longer playoff season, so he instituted the second Wild Card. Most of us lamented the loss of Game 162 ever happening again. That maybe the playoff set up would make things a little more cut-and-dry. That we wouldn’t see anything as amazing in baseball as watching every single pitch of several games again.
Yeah. We might need to rethink that philosophy.
In my 20+ years of being a baseball fan, the second wild card has added an element that I find significantly more interesting that just watching the divisional races. It also, in my most humble opinion, almost eliminates the idea of “predictions.” Because if that was the case, we were all DEAD FUCKING WRONG on the Baltimore Orioles (seriously, didn’t we pick them to finish dead last pretty much in the AL East?).
But now, along with seeing the locks for the playoffs, the Reds, the Nats, the Braves, the Giants. But the rest is up in the air. Even the Nats and the Braves are making things interesting, whichever of those teams doesn’t win the NL East will get the wild card. Insanity times infinity.
The American League provides us with a little bit of interest. Baltimore, Oakland, even the Angels still have a fighting chance. Texas Rangers have been in first most of the year and would you look at that? They had a rain out (IN TEXAS! WHERE IT NEVER FRIGGIN RAINS!!) against the Angels, and may need to play a doubleheader on a Sunday, with three games left in the season basically.
No team has clinched a spot in the AL and it just gets more and more interesting by the day — to the extent that I feel like there’s almost a playoff vibe going on now. As I write, the Orioles won tonight and have tied the Yankees who lost earlier in the day. We go back to last year where team’s fan bases are rooting against their own teams — as my friend Sully said, the Red Sox season is meaningless now, and they’re just trying to finish it out. Why not play spoiler, and make Red Sox fans MORE happy by making the Yankee country squirm a bit? (And let’s be fair – it’s probably just easier for the Red Sox to lose down the stretch).
A few weeks ago, I went to Chicago to see the White Sox play the Tigers…the game ended up getting rained out (boo!), but the reality is, one of those teams is going to win the AL Central. The other will just go home.
I used to kind of get bored during the September wrap ups, when it was almost a given that the Yankees make the playoffs, the Red Sox make the Wild Card and the rest of the league duke it out. Of course, it didn’t help that the Mets never did that well and I was basically treading water as a fan.
I thought the second Wild Card would make things less interesting and that teams that probably didn’t deserve playing in the postseason would merely be doing so. In watching these stories unfold, I have to say that whatever teams make truly deserve it. They worked hard to get there.
I don’t agree much with what Bud Selig does. I do have to say that with the second Wild Card implementation, I could very much get behind that for the future.
And with that, maybe what the Mayans predicted IS true.