Less than excited about baseball wild card races

We’re in a wild card race. Awesome!!!

Well, hardly. Wild-card races in Major League Baseball have been running for a couple of decades, and I still can’t fully accept them.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ll take a wild card berth. As I write this post, I’m listening to the Giants and the Dodgers. I want the Giants to sweep LA this weekend as I simultaneously pray for the Colorado Rockies to drop each game in their series with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

But the race for a wild card berth doesn’t nearly get me as excited as someone claiming a league or division title. Way back in the late 60s as baseball contemplated following the NFL into multi-division playoffs, I can remember my father telling me that the playoffs were supposed to be the antidote to the all-too-frequent runaway teams atop the old single-division American and National leagues.

In many years, that vision has come through. But — Yankees and Red Sox fans, don’t hate me — I grow weary of the same teams returning to the playoffs year after year after year. The seemingly endless run of playoff appearances by the Atlanta Braves is a good example. They hoarded playoff appearances, although I must admit my judgment carries the bitter tinge from their only Series victory in recent memory, in 1995 over the Cleveland Indians.

Then there was the ’97 series, in which the NL wild card team – the Florida Marlins – defeated the Tribe in the series. Where’s the justice in that?

I know I’m fighting the last war by whining about the wild card concept, so let this be my last harangue on the subject. I will now turn my attention back to the Giants, and hope against hope that their stellar pitching and anemic hitting manage to sneak them into the playoffs, on the road to a World Series victory against an AL team that won 20 more games in the regular season.

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