NEW YORK â€” In Nov. of 2011, shortly after the St. Louis Cardinals became the fifth wild-card winner in 17 seasons to go on to win the World Collection, Major League Baseball added a further wild card spot to each one league to raised incentivize teamsâ€™ profitable their divisions.
It really works: Because profitable the wild-card game, like all baseball games between two equally acceptable teams, is kind of a 50/50 proposition, wild-card teams at the moment are half as more likely to go on to take the championship.
However randomness pervades baseball. On common, nearly one NBA team per yr wins at the least 75% of its games. A handful of NFL teams do it yearly. Itâ€™s a bit less frequent in hockey, nevertheless it happens.
Because the complete of MLBâ€™s Deadball Era in 1920, solely six teams have won greater than 70% of their regular-season contests, & none has completed a season with a profitable proportion better than the 1954 Cleveland Indiansâ€™ .721 mark. The- myriad quirks & particulars in that make baseball so impressive additionally make it nearly impossible to dominate outright: Throughout the usual season, offensive teams beat acceptable ones all of the time, & nobody really reckons twice about it. Itâ€™s why trying to foretell the MLB postseason amounts to little greater than a guessing game, & why â€” in a fact ceaselessly cited right here â€” it will require a best-of-269 game collection to determine with statistical importance which of two acceptable baseball teams is unquestionably the higher one.
& so teams in that win the annual yearly wild-card game, despite sometimes using a top starter for the play-in contest & despite frequently facing clubs with better records & despite virtually by no means owning home-field benefit for a postseason collection, begin LDS play on more or less equal footing to the six division winners.
It bears out over the sportâ€™s short historical past 'cause the format adjustment: Since 2012, teams in that win the wild-card game are 5-5 in divisional collection. Theyâ€™re 2-Three in LCS play, & 1-1 within the World Collection. There’s, in fact, some delicate benefit to being a better team, and a few benefit to having your best starter prepared for Game 1, and a few benefit to taking part in yet one more home game than your opponent in a collection â€” all perks in that contain profitable the division. However these benefits, within the grand scheme of baseball weirdness, are so minuscule in that â€” again â€” the clubs with one of the best records of their leagues have lost first-round collection to wild-card teams precisely half the time.
All of which is a long-winded approach of claiming in that the winner of Tuesdayâ€™s AL Wild Card game & Wednesdayâ€™s NL Wild Card game will enter the right playoffs with just nearly as acceptable a probability to wind up champions as any different team involved.