If Royals fans didn’t need any other reasons to be optimistic about 2012
By Mike Vamosi
It looks like commissioner Bud Selig will be adding the two more wildcards for the 2012 season from what I’ve read the past couple days. Before we get into why I’m not a fan of this, let’s look at it from why it could help get Kansas City to the playoffs even quicker.
I don’t need to insult your baseball intelligence by telling you that currently three division winners and the next best record goes to the playoffs in each league as the wildcard. Since this looks like it will go into effect in a matter of hours, the timing might actually be perfect.
Can the Royals compete for the division title in 2012? I think the reasonable fan would say why not before taking the time to say, “things need to shake right and the starting pitching needs to perform better than expected.” I think it’s realistic to say the Detroit Tigers will probably win the division title with all they’ve done this offseason along with the fact they have the defending AL MVP/Cy Young winner toeing the rubber every fifth day.
Back to the topic at hand. Creating a second wildcard increases the chances that teams like the Royals could get into the playoffs. History has told us in the wildcard era, anything is possible. The Kansas Cities, Cleveland and Toronto’s of the American League now will have a chance to make the playoffs like the top tier AL clubs of New York, Boston, Detroit, Texas, Los Angeles and Tampa Bay.
The extra spot will give the secondary clubs more hope than just the one spot guaranteed in previous seasons. Sure this will probably be more interesting to watch in the National League where everyone seems more bunched up in than in the AL, but KC fans have extra hope on the eve of the season.
Let me explain why I’m not a fan of this act by the commish. It feels like it will help the little guys having an extra spot available to make the playoffs, which is great since we support a small market team in the Royals. More seasons than not, though, this second wildcard spot benefits the AL east.
Baseball has enough of an image problem of catering to the bigger markets. This will almost guarantee that the Yankees and Red Sox will be in the playoffs on a yearly basis. I think most would agree that dollar signs clouded some owner’s thoughts when this idea was floated. Sure you’ll have the extra TV one-game playoff and the addition of another team sounds great, but how great will something be that only benefits a small number?
Back to the positive thoughts, that when this happens it will be another opportunity for the Royals to end the drought that has existed since 1985. I don’t want to put a number of games that will be needed to win the second wildcard, but maybe I’ve looked the wrong way at this because Kansas City will play in a division that isn’t that strong.
I might not like the idea of a second wildcard, but as a fan of this franchise every opportunity to reach the postseason should be welcomed.