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Tuesday 20th Feb 2018

I saw Theo Epstein mention that there have been talks around expanding the MLB Wild Card match-up from a single game to a best-of-three series.

Now, before I wax philosophical and political and bore half of you into reading something that you don't think has anything to do with baseball or football, let alone sports, let me say I totally dig Theo. Aside from being a guitar player, Theo "fixed" the Red Sox, and Theo will have "fixed" the Cubs within a few years, something no one else could do for 100 years.

Second, I LOVE the Wild Card game and adding that team to the mix. It opens so much more in terms of opportunity, and equally important risk, and that fosters rebuilding for conservative teams and going for it as it applies to contenders, promoting or trading and making the second half so much more interesting and exciting.

In fact, I have no issue with expanding it to a series rather than a sudden death game in theory.

But, the real underlying principle for this expansion is building TV revenues by adding potentially four more games of playoff play, and that means viewers and related prime time ad money.

To be clear, I am not against money either, although I sometimes wonder just how much is enough? And, where does a season that used to be done by October 15 and now could move into the second week of November draw the line?

I am not trying to be a cranky old man by invoking that there were no playoffs when I first watched baseball, although the entire face and configuration of the leagues and standings and teams has transmogrified over the 55 years since the game grabbed my attention.

Things change. This I understand and accept. And, in order to survive, we must evolve with the rest of the planet, whether that means using Twitter, or separating your recyclables, or wearing a seat belt, or whatever isn't the way it used to be.

Does that mean more is good? And, though there is clearly a TV market to drive a few more games, should dollars always drive what we see?

But, another argument in favor of expanding the Wild Card is that after the grind of the season, one game should not be the decision point, and while I get this perspective, that sort of logic is fueled by the very frenzied idea that does not allow our culture to accept losing gracefully.

To apply to baseball, it is tough to lose a season to one game, to maybe one bad pitch or one bad hop within that one game, but if you extrapolate baseball and numbers and innings and pitches and at-bats, at some point every season boils down to one of those happenstances.

This is actually true of a bad bounce in football, a funky roll on the carpet in golf, or even how one might meet their future partner. There is always an element of luck or coincidence in just about every endeavor of life. The challenge is adjusting to the results.

So, while there is an argument that says one Wild Card game should not be decisive after the 162-game grind of the season, again, let's draw a line somewhere. Otherwise, we might as well expand the schedule to 200 games, or the Series back to best of nine, please.

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