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How Bud Selig and radon compare to the American League wild-card tiebreaker: MLB fan’s take
MLB Commissioner Bud Selig prohibits Pete Rose from entering the MLB Hall of Fame because he gambled on the game. The ironic part of this banishment is that Selig has proven that he's a gambler himself. The difference is that while Rose gambled with money and legacy, Selig is more like the person who gambles with radon.
As of Sept. 22, 2011, the Boston Red Sox had a 2 1/2-game wild-card lead over the Tampa Bay Rays and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim with less than one week remaining. MLB officials are praying that these teams don't finish in a three-way tie after the regular-season finale. They don't have the luxury of moving dates back because of their commitments to the television networks. They'll just have to squeeze everything in.
The worst case scenario appears to be if the Angels advanced in this three-way tiebreaker. The Angels would have to play six consecutive games without any travel days. This could include a trip to Boston on Sept. 29, a return to Anaheim on Sept. 30, a flight back to New York to face the Yankees on Oct. 1 and Oct. 2, and another trip back to Los Angeles where they'd face the Yankees on Oct. 3 and Oct. 4.
That might not sound bad if you're Chuck Norris. However, one must consider that this is four cross-country trips in six days for the Angels. That includes a back-to-back-to-back stretch in the first three days.
The American League Division Series (ALDS) could be held up even if the Angels don't make the postseason. The New York Yankees can't play the Red Sox or Rays in the ALDS because they're divisional opponents. That means that they'd have to wait on the Angels to be eliminated or face the Angels in a series that will have no travel day after Game 2.
Another abnormality to this scenario is how the home-field advantage of these games would work. The Rays had the best head-to-head record (16-10). Therefore, they can choose between two options: They can play back-to-back home games against both teams or play one road game against the winner of an Angels at Red Sox duel on Sept. 29. The Rays would play on Sept. 30.
I have no idea how that even remotely makes sense. Why wouldn't they get the home game after the Angels and Red Sox played? Or better yet, since baseball is such a crapshoot and a wild-card game really isn't fair or convenient, why not just take the Rays' head-to-head record and advance them?
This isn't the first time that MLB has found itself in a peculiar scenario. The 2002 MLB All-Star game ended in a 7-7 tie after both teams had exhausted their bullpens following the 11th inning. Selig attempted to correct this by turning a mid-season exhibition game into the single most important game of the entire season. Home-field advantage has been rewarded to the league that has won the All-Star game since 2003.
That presented another unlikelihood that would be even more embarrassing than what occurred in 2002. Both teams could still empty their bullpens if the game lasted too many innings. The difference is that neither team could forfeit because home-field advantage was at stake. Instead, managers would have to rely on position players to pitch for that home-field advantage.
That almost occurred in 2008. The 2008 Midsummer Classic was decided after 15 innings. Red Sox outfielder J.D. Drew(notes) and New York Mets third baseman David Wright(notes) were next in line to pitch had the game went into the 16th inning.
Furthermore, the National League isn't out of the woods yet. If the San Francisco Giants put together a miraculous rally in the final week of the season, there's a possibly that they could be tied with the St. Louis Cardinals and Atlanta Braves for the NL wild-card honors.
Selig dodged a bullet in 2008. If these races get any closer, he may have to dodge some more. I just don't understand why Selig allows these scenarios to exist. What if there's a season where there are so many wild-card teams that it forces them to interfere with the television schedule?
Selig is like those people who don't get their homes checked for radon because they "think" that it's unlikely that it'd be in their house. They can't sense what they can't see. Thinking can be dangerous if done incorrectly. I think those houses with radon should be called "hice." I prefer to call my spouses "spice." They like going to Kohls and buying "blice."
Maybe those houses really are safe. However, "unlikely" is not synonymic to "not." Just because Selig has never seen a three-way tiebreaker doesn't mean that it can't occur. Maybe this won't become a problem. The likelihood is that there probably won't even be a two-way tiebreaker that's needed to be resolved.
But why let it become full-blown cancer when it can be nipped in the bud immediately?
Joshua Huffman grew up in Michigan's Upper Peninsula as a Green Bay Packers and Chicago Cubs enthusiast. He immediately gained an admiration for Cubs fans after watching numerous games on WGN during the mid 1990s. His favorite Cubs moment was Kerry Wood's(notes) 1-hitter, 20K extravaganza that was only denied of a no-hitter by Kevin Orie's defensive blunder. As a Packers and Cubs fan, he suffered through Steve Bartman and "4th & 26" in a span of three months.
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