Here is the new Wild Card rule that baseball really needs.
If you finish more than five games out of first, you do not win the Wild Card. How does any team deserve the Wild Card when they are five and, many times, ten games out of first? If you can make the playoffs by being ten games out, this makes winning the division a hollow victory at best. Yet, by some twisted MLB thought process, teams which couldn’t touch first place with a ten-foot bat can make the playoffs and then beat the winner of the division.
PUH … leeze! Do the Red Sox, who may finish as many as ten games out of first, even deserve to play the Yankees in the playoffs? Let’s have some respect for the winners of the divisions who, over the course of 162 games, clinched first place at least ten games ahead of their nearest competitors. Think about that. You WIN the division by TEN games and then, in the playoffs, you have to play the team you pounded all season.
This new rule should begin NOW. If you finish more than five games out of first place, pack your cleats, go home and watch the playoffs on TV. If you finish that far out of first place, you do not deserve to make the playoffs. Actually, under the current rules, you can be closer to last place than first place, and still make the playoffs.
Some further clarification: If no team is within five games, no Wild Card. The first place team with the best record gets a bye; the other two teams play each other.
Or to drive the gamblers crazy – if no team is within five games, you put all the team names in a hat, draw a name and that team makes the Wild Card. That would be not fair, but it sure would be interesting,