And for readers today, I have a special surprise to share. A secret up until now. A few months ago I received a call from Red Sox manager and AL All-Star manager, John Farrell. He called to let me know that I made the AL All-Star team for the first time. Yeah, I know, pretty cool! The Junior Circuit needed another lefty for the pen, and mine was the lucky arm to be chosen. Okay, not really that lucky. If my math is correct, 6.41% of all living humans are selected as MLB All-Stars each season. I don’t know why, something about having to cancel an All-Star game a few years back because the kindergarten teacher, share-and-share-alike, managers ran out of pitchers. It’s all a bit foggy now.
Anyway, Bud Selig has done some foolish things as Commissioner. I’d like to do away with inter-league play. I want the DH in the NL. And I’d like fewer teams in the playoffs. Yeah, Bud hasn’t always made me happy.
But he has with the second Wild Card.
When baseball expanded its playoffs to four teams in each league, it took a step in the direction of the NBA and NHL. And it would seem that five moves further in that direction. I don’t really think so. I had previously argued that the Wild Card team didn’t really deserve to make the playoffs – that they weren’t equivalent to the division winners. And now they’re not!
It’s a cool system that keeps playoff hopes alive for more teams. It’s an extra all-or-nothing game. And it’s fun. As a guy who wanted to see Oakland and Pittsburgh in the World Series (ratings be damned), I’m not so happy with the results of the play-in games. But I like the system. After watching 12 innings of OAK/KC on Tuesday, I woke up with a baseball hangover, which is what I call not getting enough sleep because you’re watching the best game ever created. Madison Bumgarner made sure last night’s game was a lot less fun, though even it was pretty awesome.
I’m going to miss seeing Jon Lester and Andrew McCutchen this month. But I’m going to love what’s ahead. Max Scherzer looks to shut down the powerful Oriole lineup this afternoon, and Mike Trout takes center stage in prime time tonight. To me, it doesn’t get much better.
And to me, Bud got at least one thing right. I love the Wild Card game.