This one-game wild card playoff format has come under some attack.
“That’s not how baseball works. All year long you are playing a series, now it’s one game?”
“You win 105 games in a season and your entire year could be gone in nine innings? That’s not fair.”
Nobody ever said life was fair. It’s not. This wild card format brings drama instead. Every pitch is suddenly important. Because one pitch can mean the difference between moving on and moving out.
Of course, you can’t please everybody. But the one-game series is wonderful. Sustained drama. Instant heartbreak. Unless you a fan of the team that lost, what’s not to love?
Last night’s Dodgers-Cardinals game was a nail-biter from the first pitch to the last pitch. It was filled with so many hold-your-breath moments. By the time the ninth inning arrived and the score was 1-1, the stakes were higher than ever. It was going to come down to one team winning in its final at-bat.
What more could you ask for? An entire season for one team hanging on who can execute with the game on the line.
The Cardinals couldn’t. Time after time, they failed to get the hit they needed with runners in scoring position. The Dodgers hung close. Then, with one big swing of Chris Taylor’s bat, they walked it off for a 3-1 victory in front of a delirious, exhilarated, frenzied crowd. Every player who’s every played dreams of hitting that home run in that moment. Chris Taylor lived the dream.
It was a classic baseball game from wire to wire. Playoff baseball reconfirms everything you love about the sport. What makes it so beautiful and magical.
Sit back. They are just getting started.