Ire in the autumn air.
It is October in America, that time of year when Laird Superfood Pumpkin Spice fills the air and baseball the soul. Yes, while the World Surf League may claim to be the nation’s pastime, baseball has long occupied that slot. The season, which kicks off in spring, consists of 162 games winding through the dog days of summer and culminating in autumn.
The Fall Classic.
Now, in times past, the top three teams from each of the three division, both National and American Leagues, punched their playoff ticket to the playoffs alongside the National and American League team with the best record that didn’t win its division as wildcards.
The Major League Baseball powers that be, though, wanted to add some spice and expanded the wildcard portion, allowing a few more teams a shot at the Big Dance. These teams play a three game series, then the winner plays the team with the best record in its league.
This tinkering has been compared to the World Surf League’s decision to implement “Finals Day” wherein the top five surfers, male and female, head to Lower Trestles to compete in a winner-take-all showdown.
While the intention was to “increase excitement” in both baseball and surfing, the results have also benefited upstarts that just so happened to “get hot.”
Take Stephanie Gilmore’s worst-to-first 2022 performance in which Carissa Moore, the champion all year, was unseated.
Or, over on the baseball side, the Arizona Diamondbacks sweeping the Los Angeles Dodgers even though the Dodgers were ahead of the D-Backs by sixteen games at season end.
Last year, the Dodgers were undone by the San Diego Padres in similar fashion, leaving Dodger fans furious and wanting the playoff format changed back to the way it was.
Message boards and op-eds are filled with “salty” messages from Dodgers, and Braves, fans decrying the “Carissa Moore-ing” of teams that proved their worth all season only to get “Lower Trestled.”
Surf fans not named Richard Toledo nodding quietly.
Will the grousing lead to changes?
Do you have thoughts on the matter or a horse in the race?
The Texas Rangers take on the Houston Astros tonight for the American League pennant.
All action, no lulls.