The MLB Playoffs are about to begin with the Wildcard Round on Tuesday, October 3rd. Although there’s only 3 games left for most teams, there’s plenty of things that still need to be decided. In the National League, all 3 divisions are clinched, but 2 of the 3 wildcard teams are yet to be determined. In the AL, the AL West and 2 wildcard spots are still up for grabs.
It’s those wildcard spots in the AL and the AL Central where there’s a certain debate about reseeding teams in the playoffs. All 3 wildcard teams right now have a better record than the Minnesota Twins, who won the AL Central. There’s a good chance that no matter who the wildcard teams happen to be, even the team on the outside looking in, the Mariners, will have a better record than the Twins. However, since the Twins had the fortune of playing in the worst division in the league, they are locked into the 3rd seed of the playoffs. Even though there’s no reseeding past the wildcard round, the Twins will host the eventual #6 seed in a best-of-3 series at Target Field. However, is winning a division that just so happens to be bad more meaningful than another team having a better record than you? It does seem a little unfair to teams like the Blue Jays or Astros, the two teams currently in the last 2 wildcard spots, that they’ll both be on the road in their Wildcard Round matchups despite having a better record than the Twins.
There should some benefit to winning your division, even if it’s a bad one. Of course, the benefit for the Twins is that they’ll be in the playoffs, even though they may not have one of the 6 best records in the league. However, another argument about reseeding is that the lower seed should always travel to the top seed in the next round, but that doesn’t happen. If the 3rd wildcard team, or the 6 seed, beats the 3rd best division winner, that team doesn’t travel to the top seed in the league. The winner of the no. 4 versus no. 5 matchup will always travel to play the 1 seed in the Divisional Round, and the winner of the no. 3 versus no. 6 matchup will play the 2 seed in the Divisional Round. Is that fair for the 4 or 5 seed if the no. 6 seed wins? No, that doesn’t seem very fair. The last wildcard team should have the toughest path to making it to the World Series.
The MLB Playoff format may not be perfect, but it’s been a very long season, and we can’t wait for October baseball to begin! Legends will be born and legacies will be cemented, for better or worse.