Home > Sports > Braves-Cardinals game proof Wild Card Game is illegitimate

Braves-Cardinals game proof Wild Card Game is illegitimate

Too mad to caption this

Something ugly happened last night in Atlanta. No, I’m not talking about the Braves fans embarrassing themselves by acting like Phillies fans in response to the worst call in Major League history. I’m not even talking about that terrible infield fly rule call. I’m talking about the culmination of a terrible mistake that was made in the offseason: the Wild Card Game itself.

As soon as I heard about the league’s plan to add a second Wild Card team and have a one-game Wild Card Playoff, I was furious. Single-elimination games in baseball make no sense. Baseball is a game of adjustments. It’s played over 162 games and hundreds of at-bats. It’s not like basketball where you can count on LeBron to go out and score 20+ points every game. It’s not like football, where you can count on Aaron Rodgers to throw for 250+ yards every game. In baseball, the best hitters will fail to get a hit about 70% of the time. Slumps and hot streaks are common by good, bad, and average teams, but over the course of a long season, things even out: The best teams win the most games.

The Houston Astros were by far the worst team in baseball this year, yet they still won 55 games. That means 55 different times, they beat a superior team. That’s because anything can happen in a single baseball game. An average pitcher can shut down the league’s best offense. A Cy Young pitcher can get lit up by an average lineup. Or in the case of last night’s game, the team with the league’s best defense (Atlanta) can commit 3 throwing errors and be victimized by a rally-killing call that robs them of a bases-loaded situation with only one out.

Another fluke: Braves had won 23 straight when Medlen pitches.

People are focusing on the terrible call by umpire Sam Holbrook. In fact, I hear even the NFL replacement refs think he’s an idiot. But to me the single-elimination game is the worse offense. Yes, it was a bad call and it may have cost the Braves the game. But what’s worse is that a single fluky game can end a team’s season. The Braves went 94-68 this year, a record good enough to win the NL West, AL Central, and AL West, but they were only a Wild Card team because they happened to play in a division with the Nationals, who had a league-best record of 98-64. Despite playing hard all year for 162 games and falling just 4 wins short of the team with the best record in baseball, the Braves’ season is over, thanks to a horrible playoff format change, fluky errors, and the worst umpiring call I’ve ever seen. If you care about baseball, that shouldn’t sit well with you.

  1. October 7, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    Two thumbs up!!! Nice write here J!!!

  2. October 8, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    You know…I am going to smile and nod and fake knowing what you’re talking about because that is the type of friend I am. I am mad for you….I think. 😉


    • October 8, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Thanks, that means a lot.

      • rebecca2000
        October 8, 2012 at 7:58 pm

        Does it? I can fake more for you if you want me too but I can’t lie so I have to tell you I am faking. I want to know more about your new opportunity though. That I am not faking.

      • October 9, 2012 at 8:24 pm

        Well, it mostly meant a lot because I deliberately misinterpreted “I am mad for you.” As for the new opportunity, I’ll email you.

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