The Wild Card Advantage

Since 1995 the current Wild Card format has been in place. That’s 17 years. That’s a long ass time. ‘95 turned out to be the first year I started following baseball. I was 8 years old that summer and living in central Jersey. The local TV stations picked up every Yankees and Mets games. Since my dad was from Flushing, I was naturally inclined to follow the team he grew up hating. The Yankees were my team that summer…the start of a very complicated relationship.

Now, I didn’t know then, but 1995 was a shortened season. The 1994 strike had left America without a World Series Champion for the first time in over 100 years. Hundreds of thousands of fans promised never to watch another game. That all flew over my head. I had discovered baseball that summer and the Yankees were the first American League “Wild Card”. The playoff series with the Seattle Mariners that year was one of the best in baseball history. Pretty good kick start to a new playoff format. (Interestingly enough the Colorado Rockies in their 3rd year of existence were the National League Wild Card winners. Talk about diversity!)

17 years later people are still complaining about Wild Card teams. These damn Cardinals just won the World Series and they weren’t even supposed to be in the playoffs. 10 ½ games out of the Wild Card in the beginning of September! They beat a Philadelphia team that won 102 games in the regular season! Where is the justice?

I find the fury of certain people to be comical. The playoff format we have is here to stay, and it’s only going to grow, not shrink. Why can’t we just accept what has been for nearly 2 decades! and enjoy a game rather than complain how much worse it is than in the 1930’s. And if you want to start comparing, what happens when we toss those superior teams against the bullpens of today? The conditioning of athletes? You complain of steroids? I smear you with the pine tar and sandpaper of yesteryear.

I also leave you with diversity. The number of playoff appearances, pennants, and championships by each team since 1995. Just so you know, none of these count for “real” baseball fans.

17 Years

17 Champs

34 Pennants

136 Teams in Playoffs

Baltimore Orioles. 2 Appearances. O Pennants or Championships.

Boston Red Sox. 9 Appearances, 2 Pennants, 2 Championships.

New York Yankees. 16 Appearances, 7 Pennants, 5 Championships.

Tampa Bay Rays. 3 Appearances. 1 Pennant. 0 Championships.

Toronto Blue Jays. Nothing.

Chicago White Sox. 3 Appearances. 1 Pennant. 1 Championship.

Cleveland Indians. 6 Appearances. 2 Pennants. 0 Championships.

Detroit Tigers. 2 Appearances. 1 Pennants. 1 Championship.

Kansas City Royals. Nothing.

Minnesota Twins. 6 Appearances. 0 Pennants or Championships.

Houston Astros. 6 Appearances. 1 Pennant. 0 Championships.

Los Angeles Angels. 6 Appearances. 1 Pennant. 1 Championship.

Oakland Athletics. 5 Appearances. 1 Pennants or Championships.

Seattle Mariners. 4 Appearances. 0 Pennants or Championships.

Texas Rangers. 5 Appearances. 2 Pennants. 0 Championships.

Atlanta Braves. 12 Appearances. 3 Pennants. 1 Championship.

Miami Marlins. Deuces all around. 2 Appearances. 2 Pennants. 2 Championships.

New York Mets. 3 Appearances. 1 Pennant. 0 Championships.

Philadelphia Phillies. 5 Appearances. 2 Pennants. 1 Championship.

Washington Nationals. Nothing.

Cincinnati Reds. 2 Appearances. 0 Pennants or Championships.

Chicago Cubs. 4 Appearances. 0 Pennants or Championships.

Milwaukee Brewers. 2 Appearances. 0 Pennants or Championships.

Pittsburgh Pirates. Nothing.

St. Louis Cardinals. 9 Appearances. 3 Pennants. 2 Championships.

Arizona Diamondbacks. 5 Appearances. 1 Pennant. 1 Championship.

Colorado Rockies. 3 Appearances. 1 Pennant. 0 Championships.

Los Angeles Dodgers. 6 Appearances. 0 Pennants or Championships.

San Diego Padres. 4 Appearances. 1 Pennant. 0 Championships.

San Fransisco Giants. 5 Appearances. 2 Pennants. 1 Championship.

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