Atlanta Braves 3B Chipper Jones is winding down his career, making his rounds through opposing National League stadiums for the last time in his career. The Braves are currently in Philadelphia and they find themselves with a firm grip on one of the wildcard spots for the upcoming post season. Last season, the Braves watched a potential playoff berth slip away in the final days of the season, losing out to the St. Louis Cardinals. This year, MLB has installed a second wildcard team, but Jones doesn’t like the idea.
“I think it’s stupid to be honest with you. But Major League Baseball wants a bunch of teams in the playoffs. There’s nothing like cut-throat baseball for the fans. And people love that 163rd regular season game. They’ve loved it in the past. I’n sure that’s what probably promoted a second wildcard team. I wish they would’ve done it a year earlier so we would have had a chance last year. But it is what it is,” said Jones.
I tend to agree with Chipper on this point. Yes, the second wildcard has greatly changed the prospects for several teams this season of reaching post season play, but the concept is a bad idea. The game gets watered down and actually the one game playoff between the wildcard teams puts them at a disadvantage with their pitching rotation moving into the playoffs. If you are going to handcuff the wildcard team in such a manner, then why even have them enter the playoffs.
I much preferred the former system where you had one wildcard team. That allows teams to set their pitching rotations and have a legitimate shot at advancing in the playoffs.
Meanwhile, Jones is hoping for just one last shot at a World Series ring, but if it doesn’t happen this year, his next stop will be the Hall of Fame.
Baseball has a lot of problems. They have a lot of things they need to fix. Adding a second wildcard team really was not one high on the priority list.