Student Advisory Board Member
After a 98-win season, the Pittsburgh Pirates were officially eliminated from the 2015 Major League Baseball post-season, following a 4-0 loss at the hands of Jake Arrieta and the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday night at PNC Park. The Pirates earned the top wild card spot in the National League, allowing them to claim the home field advantage for the important game. Unfortunately for the Pirates, it proved to not make much of a difference, as the Pirates just didn’t have what it took to beat the dominate Cubs, led by Jake Arrieta, who ended up with a 12 strikeout complete game win.
The Pirates ended the regular season with a record of 98 wins and 64 losses, which means that they were the second best team in baseball, only behind the St. Louis Cardinals, who were the National League Central Champions. Unfortunately, since the Cardinals are in the same division as the Pirates, this meant that the only way into the postseason for the Pirates was to play a one game wild card match against the Cubs, who, ironically, had the third best record in baseball. This begs the question, was it fair for the Pirates, and for that matter, the Cubs, to have their fate decided by one singular game?
Ever since Major League Baseball introduced the wild card, it has chosen to reward division winners rather than the teams who have the best records. So, while the Texas Rangers finished the season with 88 wins, they were given a free ride to the ALDS, while the Pirates, who finished with 10 more wins on the year, had to struggle to make a one game wildcard only to get beat by a team who as of late have won 10 straight games. I cannot imagine that Major League Baseball can continue to use the current system that is in place for much longer. Rather than reward teams based on records, they reward teams based on divisions made up of geographic location. Is it really fair for the Pirates that they can’t make the NLDS only because they are geographically closer to the Cardinals than the Mets?
Fortunately for Major League Baseball, commissioner Robert Manfred has already said on record that he will take a “long and hard look” at the current wild card system at the conclusion of the 2015 MLB playoffs. This means that there is hope for future teams to come that may end up on the short end of the stick, thanks to a talented division. For the time being, I’ll continue to watch the MLB postseason, and hope for a change in the near future.