Baseball had just had an amazing end to the season. A heart stopping race to the final day where nobody knew which way the post season would shape up.
One of the best teams in the game, or at least a consensus pick, would be on the outside looking in. And the balance seemed to tip from game to game.
It was the perfect exhibition of why the current playoff system worked!
And then they changed it. Added more teams. And fans couldn’t believe they were watering down the post season, especially after we just saw that the old system not only wasn’t broken but worked perfectly.
The new format would deny us such a great finale.
What year am I talking about?
Am I talking about the new one game Wild Card playoff to finish the year?
Or am I talking about the introduction of the Division Series right on the heels of the amazing NL West race in 1993, where the 103 Giants missed the playoffs completely?
Or am I talking about the beginning of Division play in 1969, when the furious American League race of 1967 had four teams going into the final weekend with a shot at the pennant before the Red Sox won it?
Take your pick.
It could be any of them. Whenever a new wrinkle is thrown into the playoff system, people will complain and act like the playoffs will never be the same and that undeserving teams will advance.
And those same people will then defend the system they used to bitch and moan about.
I think the new change is good.
It puts a premium on winning the Division and every year gives us a do or die shot at the playoffs which will probably mean starting a pair of aces.
And it means that 1/3 of the teams will technically be a playoff team.
Conspiracy theorists are saying this is a ploy to make sure the Red Sox and Yankees make it every year.
But this format would have given some small market teams a shot at October. The 2007 and 2010 Padres would have been in. The 2000 and 2005 Indians would have given fans some hope. The 1996 Expos would have played. Who knows? Maybe they would have advanced and save baseball in Quebec!
Either way, the change is here. And why be the person who complains? There will be more exciting baseball down the stretch AND in October.
And I guess we can’t have that.