Via Tim Britton in The Providence Journal, we have David Ross's preferred format for the Wild Card Series. Now it's just one game, actually, but Ross has another idea ...
"How much fun I had I can't even tell you -- one game for all the marbles. But on the other hand, I feel like they can reward the team that finished first," he said. "If it were my choice, I would give it a two-game playoff, where the team that's chasing the lead team has to beat them twice. Pretend it's a three-game series and the team that's up is up one game.
"So if we would have won, we'd have gone on, and if they won, they'd have to beat us again the next day. It also rewards the complete team, I think. If you have one stud like [Justin] Verlander, Cliff Lee, [Cole] Hamels -- if you have one stud on your staff, they come in and win that one game. You should reward the team that was the best for the longest. That's my take on it.
Well, there's something to be said for rewarding the team that was the best for the longest but ... that's already happening! The team that was the best for the longest gets to play the one game at home. And I haven't checked the math, but I'm pretty sure the team that was the best for the longest will also have a slightly better shot at using its best pitcher in the one game, while the second-best and -longest team has to scramble just to be there.
That was certainly the case last season, anyway, when the Braves a) had no shot at the division title, but did have the first wild card locked up, well before the playoff. Meanwhile, the Cardinals sorta had to scramble, finishing just two lengths ahead of the Dodger.
I like the original thinking. But the team with the better record already has a couple of advantages, and asking the No. 5 seed to win two straight -- and probably on the road, lest there be a travel day -- just seems like too much.