Wild Card Is Great Some Years, But Not This Year
The two Wild Card races are practically over, and it's only Labor Day. Not a big deal in itself, but it takes away the drama of the American League East division title race between the Yankees and the Red Sox. Does it really matter who wins, since both are virtually guaranteed a playoff spot already?
I know it's never going to happen, but I think baseball would be better with four eight team divisions, and four playoff teams. This would require adding two expansion teams, and perhaps some radical realignment.
It would eliminate the Wild Card, which is fine with me, since it would return baseball to its special position as the only sport that doesn't reward teams for finishing second.
I know that it's much more likely that baseball will go in the opposite direction and add two more Wild Card teams. The proposed system would still be an improvement over the current system, if only because it will make it harder for a Wild Card team to win the World Series, which has happened way too often.
Going back to my radical proposal, there is something great about the eight team unit, harkening back to most of baseball history, when there were eight teams in each league, and the only interleague play happened in Spring Training and the World Series. Of course, it would be double that old model, but I like the symmetry and mathematical beauty of it all. And the DH would have to be eliminated, which is one of the best parts.
Here's my dream MLB configuration:
|Toronto Blue Jays|
|Chicago White Sox|
It would be great to return to the 154 game schedule. One reason there are so many injuries is that the season is too long and there is too much travel. Now that amphetamine testing has slowly eliminated that aspect of the game, players need more down time to recover from fatigue.
One possibility would be to go way back and have teams only play against other teams in their league, so that each team would play 22 games each against the other seven teams in their region. Or there could be some kind of rotation of the regions, so that one year West and South were in the same league, and only play against the 15 other teams in those regions. The first round of playoffs could be a seven game series called the Regional Championships. And how about a best of nine games World Series?
Big changes are coming, so why not dream of what I'd really like to see?
Caroms Off the Wall
The other day, the Washington National were trailing by two runs and had runners on first and second with no outs against the Mets. The batter hit a hard grounder right to the short stop, clearly a double-play grounder. Right after the Mets turned the double-play, it occurred to me that the runner on second should have let the ball hit him. That would have resulted in one out (the runner on second), and still having runners on first and second, instead of having two outs and a runner on third. I wonder if a runner has ever had the presence of mind to do that, instead of instinctively dodging the ball and running to third?
© Judy Kamilhor 2011