Most seasons, on the last day, we hope for some kind of chaos to hit MLB’s playoff system. I think it comes deep down because people want to see that the joker sham is just that. Because letting teams play a game to play a game to get into the playoffs after 162 games and six months is pretty ridiculous. Or maybe we all just want to see something we haven’t seen before. We’ve seen play-in games to get to the wildcard. The Rays won it in 2013. But never the ABC method of a tie of three or the parentheses of a four tie. Maybe one day.
But we didn’t make it this year. At the end of the day, the Red Sox were playing against a horrible Nationals team, and the Yankees couldn’t keep their brains out over a Rays team just having the fun of making the Yankees’ lives hell. And they may very well get that again next Thursday. The Blue Jays really did everything they could, and the Mariners can’t lose two of the three Angels at home and claim they deserved it. much more than they got. Their time will come for both teams, probably already next season.
There was a lot of grumbling, most from Toronto as is always the case, that the Jays could take 91 wins and have the third best run differential in the AL and miss the playoffs. But this playoff system was never about being fair, and never will be a playoff system. They are not the first good team to miss, and by no means the best. The 2015 Pirates won 98 games and their reward was the Cy Young winner for one game. If they had played in the East, they would have won the division at a gallop and played the wild card winner who had already burned their best starter. That’s how geography works in baseball.
If people want a fair playoff system, divide MLB back into just two leagues, have everyone play each team in their league eight times and everyone in the other league three times, then take the top five in each league. There. Will that ever happen? No of course not. This is what we have. And it’s probably going to get worse, as the new CBA will almost certainly expand the playoffs, when that CBA is supposed to come.
Maybe we should be glad it ended so neatly, because when baseball gets something unique, it tries to manufacture it every year, and that’s how we ended up with this second wildcard bullshit at the end of the 2011 season.
So we’re getting Yankees-Red Sox whether we like it or not. Another chapter in the league’s loudest rivalry. Most likely they are playing for the right to be pushed in the first round by the Rays, who seem to be the deepest team in the AL by some distance. And then we’ll see what kind of system we have next season, if there’s a next season.