Yankees manager Joe Girardi not a fan of current Wild Card format
With the Yankees likely to enter the Postseason as the first AL Wild Card team, manager Joe Girardi expressed his desire for MLB to change the format of its dreaded one-game play-in.
Entering the postseason as a Wild Card team isn’t the death sentence some would make it out to be. After all, there have been six such teams that have gone on to win the World Series since the addition of the extra round — most recently the San Francisco Giants in 2014. So why then does Yankees manager Joe Girardi hate the current makeup of the one-game play-in?
Prior to Aaron Judge breaking the all-time single-season home run record for a rookie on Monday afternoon, Girardi explained his distaste for the current playoff format to NJ Advance Media.
"“I would like to see it be a three-game series,” Girardi said. “To me, the penalty for being a wild card team is: You play Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and you don’t get an off day between Game 1 and 2 of the Division Series. I think that gives the teams, in a sense, a little bit more of an advantage.“And I know, it’s for the excitement and the drama. But to play 162 games, you should get more than one game. That’s my personal opinion. It probably won’t hold much water.”"
I both agree and disagree with Girardi.
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On one hand, playing extra games without a day off is a fair penalty for failing to win your division. It’s only just that the club that was at the top of the standings get a slight edge.
On the other, I hate the fact that an inferior team like the Twins, should they nab the second AL Wild Card spot, can knock the Yankees out of the playoffs in a single night.
Not only did the Bombers recently sweep the Twinkies in convincing fashion, but as of Tuesday, the upstart club from Minnesota still sit a full five games back of the Yanks.
While I’m totally on-board for making baseball more appealing through the arduous summer months, giving extra teams more of an incentive to keep their best players past the non-waiver trade deadline and fighting on towards championship aspirations, the first Wild Card team — one like the Yankees, that find themselves four games behind the Red Sox for the AL East crown are only assured of playing a single playoff game.
And if we’ve learned anything from 2015, when the Yanks took on the Astros in the Wild Card game, an uneventful night of mediocre pitching and little hitting is enough to end a season.
So let’s fix the Wild Card format once and for all. Make it a best-of-three series, similar to the championship of the College World Series.
Each team can get at least one crack at playing in front of their home crowd — even if it means shortening Spring Training by two or three games to make up for the travel time.
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Doing so will add even more excitement to the best part of the baseball season, equal out the fairness factor for the clubs involved and put more money in the pocket of MLB and its owners. It’s a win-win situation for all.