clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Long live Baseball Thunderdome

Wednesday’s Say Hey, Baseball focuses on the AL and NL Wild Card games.

American League Wild Card Game - Minnesota Twins v New York Yankees Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

I love the wild card game. Maybe you don't! That's fine, baseball has room for diversity of opinion, but me? I love it. Tuesday's contest between the Yankees and Twins was a reminder of why I feel this way about MLB's most recent postseason innovation.

It's Baseball Thunderdome. It's chaos contained within a three-hour* stretch guaranteed to begin with glee and end with heartbreak. The Twins were the underdogs, and they literally came out swinging, kicking off the postseason with a Brian Dozier leadoff dinger. Another homer followed, and Yankees' starter Luis Severino was chased from the game. That would be about all for the Twins, though: that early glee led to heartbreak, just like it was supposed to, and the better team ended up advancing.

*Well, hypothetically. That's what the TV listings say, anyway.

The Twins have nothing to be ashamed of. They were one-and-doned, sure, but they lost 103 games in 2016, then made it to the postseason. The wild card isn't some easy way to make the postseason anymore: you might be able to sneak yourself a chance without winning 90 games, as the Twins did, but you still have to earn your way in and pay a price with this brief, win-or-go-home gatekeeping round. And, as Grant Brisbee wrote following the AL iteration of the wild card game, that's a positive.

The best part? We get to do it all over again tonight. The Rockies can be a real good team sometimes, and they can also be a middling one. If they get hot at the right time, they have as good of a chance as anyone in the postseason to win it all. They'll take on the Diamondbacks, who would have won the NL West a year ago with their 2017 record. It's a clash of the kind of wild card the new system allows vs. the one the initial wild card let in, just like Twins-Yankees happened to be.

And just like Twins-Yankees, this one is going to begin with hope and optimism and glee and devolve into heartbreak for one side, too, all in a matter of a few hours.