Sunday, September 25, 2016


Regardless if the Yankees ultimately sneak into the MLB Wild Card or not, the race itself has not disappointed.  As a matter of fact, the concept of the Wild Card in its entirety is brilliant marketing.

According to, "In total, with 1 1/2 weeks left in the season, there were still 12 clubs in the Wild Card races, meaning 30 percent of the franchises still had postseason hopes not based on division titles. That kind of thing was the hope when former Commissioner Bud Selig pushed for the Wild Card and an expanded postseason format, which were initiated in 1995. One of the reasons behind the Wild Card concept was the 1993 San Francisco club that won 103 games, but had nowhere to go after it finished second to Atlanta in the NL West."

Just after the 2011 season, MLB announced that it would be adding two wild card teams to the postseason. The two wild card teams in each league face each other in a one-game playoff, much we saw with the Yankees versus the Houston Astros last season. The one and done winner of this game advances to meet the top seed in the Division Series.

While most of the division races are finalized, the Wild Card is giving some unlikely teams some additional post game help.  It's like YES Announcer and formed Baltimore Oriole Kenny Singleton said during this week's coverage of the Yankees, "I love September baseball." And so do the fans.

Duke University has its own Chronicle and earlier this month one of the writers had this to say about the Wild Card phenomenon, "As someone with a roommate whose Boston Red Sox have bounced back-and-forth all season between leading their division, hanging onto a wild card and sitting on the outside looking in, I’ve had to live with the insanity and excitement that the final month of baseball can bring. I don’t figure it’s going away any time soon." And he'd be right.

As a matter of fact,, a newspaper much like our out of Ohio, is running a poll to see if fans would like to see the game extended to a three-games series. The early results say, that the majority of fans who have completed the poll would in fact like to see the Wild Card extended.

I have to say, I like the Wild Card and I love baseball, so why not have more of both? Some players are not in favor, including Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen who gave his opinion prior to Spring Training this season.

"You run into a hot pitcher who has his best stuff and your season is over in one night," McCutchen said. "It really stings. You play all season to get to the playoffs and it doesn’t seem quite fair that you have no margin for error. It was hard to watch the rest of the playoffs (last year). We had big dreams," reported CBS in February.  The Pirates have not had Wild Card success, failing to move on two out of the last three years.

According to"Of the 21 World Series played since the Wild Card was in place, six have been won by Wild Card teams. The Marlins became the first Wild Card team to win the World Series in 1997. Then they won again in 2003, thus gaining the distinction of being the only team to win two World Series without winning a division title."

So, the Wild Card, although a terrific marketing strategy for Major League Baseball yielding additional merchandise, ticket sales and media coverage, is stressful for teams and their fans, like us. It makes the season overall longer, but it enables fans who love the sport, more fall ball, which is a good thing for me.  Time is ticking for the Yankees' hopes, but guess what, there's so much post season ahead of me as a baseball fan, that it makes the sting a little less potent.

--Suzie Pinstripe, BYB Senior Staff Writer
BYB Hot Stove Columnist

Twitter: @suzieprof

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