With the NFL taking over everyone’s mind between the hustle and bustle and wheeling and dealing of making your NFL bets and setting up your fantasy football roster each week, one can easily forget that the end of September means the MLB season has come to an end.
The Wild Card has been in play ever since the MLB expanded to 28 teams and realigned its two leagues to have three divisions. Since a three team playoff would have required one team to receive a bye, the wild card was created to field a fourth team. The wild card has been in effect since 1995, and it is arguably one of the greatest changes the MLB has ever made to bring excitement to the game and the gruelling 161 game regular season.
For sportsbooks, the season couldn’t have ended in a better way, with one more meaningful game for the Wild Card in both the National and American Leagues to decide the fate of not one, not two, not three, but of four teams.
The Boston Red Sox, Tampa Bay Rays, Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals all are in the position where nine innings of baseball is all that is left to decide if they will be taking the field in October or heading somewhere warm for vacation. Each team is playing for the lone wild card slot in their respective leagues and a chance to advance to the MLB Playoffs.
It almost goes without saying, there will be plenty of angry fans in Boston if the Red Sox don`t hold off the Rays tonight.
“I think it’s really good for baseball, not so good for my stomach,” manager Terry Francona said. “It’s exciting. If you don’t want to show up (Wednesday) and play, you’ve got no pulse. My goodness, I can’t remember being that nervous in a long time. Go back to the hotel and not sleep, and then show up and see what we can do.” – Craveonline