Yankees Quick Hits by Bryan Revello – Examining the second wild card
If you look back to my Yankees blogs from 2013, I mentioned quite a few times about the fact that the playoff format change was going to increase baseball’s ability to remain exciting for fans as the season enters its final chapter. In years past, so many playoff spots had already been figured out by early September. The advent of the second wild card team has really turned baseball upside down because now so many teams still have a chance to make the postseason compared to years past.
I recall that the Yankees had such a large lead in 1998 that fans were fearful the team would slump in the postseason because they hadn’t played any game of significant importance for some time which is the opposite of teams that ride the momentum of the playoff chase right into the playoffs themselves. With the new playoff format, there are going to be more teams riding momentum of late season pennant races than ever before. The first wild card team was the start of this new reality and the second wild card team really cements this idea.
Now that the two wild card MLB playoff format is in its second year, I think people are really beginning to digest the fact that their favorite teams are still able to fight for a playoff spot at this time of year versus the old system that would have already seen many teams phoning it in (as they would already have started preparing for next season.)
The invention of the original wild card concept took a few years to get used to but it really did help provide additional teams a chance to win the World Series that would have never been possible under the previous playoff format. Take a quick look at the AL playoff race right now. The Yankees were 3 games over .500 on August 22nd, a record and time frame that in the past would never permit a team to still be in the running to make the postseason under the same circumstances. Under the former one wild card team format, the Yankees would still find themselves 9.5 games out of the playoff hunt but with the new system they still have a shot only 4 games behind the second wild card spot. This shift in playoff format has given teams and fans a reason to still find optimism even as September approaches.
I still question the Yankees depth when evaluating their ability to succeed in the postseason and I can see them having their weaknesses exposed in a short playoff series but the fact remains that there is still a reasonable mathematical chance to make it. Like Lauren Holly said to Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber, I’m saying there’s a chance.
About the Author
Bryan Revello is the Editor in Chief for New York Sportscene. A New York Yankees analyst and enthusiast, he can be heard talking about the New York Yankees on the Spadora on Sports radio program. Questions or comments can be sent to Bryan at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @BryanRevello.