One of the things that separates Major League Baseball from other professional sports in this country is the exclusivity of the playoffs. Yet this September is highlighting the benefits and detriment of the still relatively new second Wild Card in each league.
The Rangers and Rays are in the lead for the two Wild Card spots at this point, but the Orioles, Indians, Yankees and Royals are all in solid contention. Six clubs battling for two postseason openings is the kind of thing that has allowed the Wild Card to gain more than just a foothold in baseball’s postseason.
No one disputes that more races is a good thing for baseball. You want to have more teams in a race because it generates more fan interest, and that can result in better television ratings or more ticket sales in some cities.
Now, teams want to win their division more than ever in order to avoid exhausting all their resources in a one-game playoff leading into a five-game series.
Source: Adam Wells, CNN Second Wild Card Team: Good Or Bad? by Charles Mager