FG on Fox: Two Wild Cards Are In the World Series, and That’s Terrific by Jeff Sullivan October 17, 2014 So we’re all set, then, for a weekend without any baseball. The Royals did away with the Orioles in the minimum number of games, and the Giants almost did that same thing to the Cardinals. So out of a possible 14 LCS contests, we got nine of them, and now we’re set up for a showdown that isn’t exactly improbable, but that wasn’t predicted by (m)any. The Royals are in the World Series, after winning 89 games and after having once been 48-50. The Giants are in the World Series, after winning 88 games and after having once been 63-57. It’s going to be a World Series between two wild-card teams, and that’s absolutely terrific. Major League Baseball is getting what it wanted from this postseason. And I don’t just mean in terms of the drama, although I think we’ve all been aware of that. The series haven’t been long, but the games have just about all been close. As one example, during the regular season, 19 percent of all plate appearances occurred with a score deficit of at least four runs. In the playoffs, that’s dropped all the way to 9 percent, and there were only three such plate appearances in the whole ALCS. It’s absurd how suspenseful and electrifying this has all been, but then that’s something more particular to this postseason. The wild-card thing is a bigger-picture issue. It’s … I don’t know, what’s a good word? Controversial? The argument against being, wild-card berths dilute the level of talent in the playoffs. So perhaps the wild-card teams are undeserving, and then what does that tell you if you get a pair of them in the championship? What does a World Series title tell you about a team, if it’s a series between two teams who failed to win their divisions? It tells you that a team beat another team in a baseball tournament. It tells you nothing more, and it’s not designed to tell you anything more. Tournaments thrive on drama and unpredictability. What baseball’s got set up is a hell of a tournament, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a couple of wild-card teams surviving to the end. In another sport, we’d call them Cinderellas. Read the rest on Just A Bit Outside.