Jays fans deserve better than 1 game playoff

Aug 11, 2014 by

Jays fans deserve better than 1 game playoff

If you’re a Blue Jays fan you’ve been waiting 21 years to watch meaningful baseball games played in August or September at the Skydome, er the Rogers Centre. This past home stand finished with a dramatic and thrilling 3 game series against the Central Division leading Detroit Tigers which featured three blown saves, two walk off wins and an exceptionally played 19 inning marathon victory by the home team. The 19 inning affair was the longest game in Jays history and was highlighted by numerous spectacular defensive plays by the likes of Colby Rasmus, shutdown relief pitching by Chad Jenkins (6 innings pitched, 7 hits, 0 Earned Runs) and Melky Cabrera’s batting prowess, reaching base 8 times (3 hits, 5 walks) in a single game – only the seventh player in MLB history to do so and the first since Rod Carew in 1972.

After their historical win versus the Tigers, the Jays now sit 1.5 games behind Kansas City for the second wild card seed and 5 games behind the first place Baltimore Orioles in the AL East. With 43 games remaining they have a real opportunity to play a postseason game for the first time since they last won a World Series in 1993. It’s great to finally see meaningful baseball games played by the Blue Jays this time of the year, but their post-season run is tempered by the reality that if they do make the playoffs it’s likely going to result in a one game playoff with the California Angels on the road. Certainly the Orioles could go into a deep slump and the Jays could still win the division, but that result seems unlikely with so few games remaining. The realistic probability is that if the Jays pull ahead of similarly grouped teams vying for the final wild card position in the Kansas City Royals, New York Yankees and the Seattle Mariners they will end up only being guaranteed only a single game against a very good Angels team. After decades of disappointment, any true Jays fan will take that result given the alternative, but it would also be bittersweet knowing the Jays only get a single game against a prohibitive favorite to determine a “real” playoff spot.

If this were the NBA or the NHL the Blue Jays would be firmly ensconced in a playoff spot and assured of a seven game series. If this were the NFL there would an additional playoff spot to play for and the Jays chances of securing that spot would increase significantly. Instead baseball continues to be slow to integrate more playoff teams. The one game showdown is an exciting way to determine a fourth playoff team, but I would like to see at least a best of three or best of five series which would reward both teams with at least one home playoff game. Its time MLB reconsider their playoff structure and give both wild card teams an opportunity to play on home soil. Additionally, its time they completely revamp their playoff structure, a topic I will address in further detail in a future article. For now it appears the Jays only realistic opportunity to make the playoffs is through a single game wild card. Given the recent history of the Blue Jays, as a fan you will take it, but it seems unfair to give 2 teams a one game playoff after playing 162 games. The teams competing deserve better and so do the fans; let’s hope one day soon MLB gets it right.

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