There’s nothing unfair about a Wild Card game

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With the listless Reds’ 6-2 loss to the Pirates last night in the National League Wild Card game, heard some talk about the supposed unfairness of a one-game, winner-take-all format to a baseball playoff.

Here’s the thing: It’s supposed to be unfair.

If you want fair, win your division. If you want to avoid a sudden-death playoff game, win your division. If you want to be able to have a second chance after playing one bad playoff game, win your division. It’s very simple. Win your division.

The Reds didn’t win their division. They didn’t even finish second in their division, which is why Dusty Baker’s club ¬†ended up in Pittsburgh listening to long-starved Pirates fans rattling starting pitcher Johnny Cueto with those sign-song chants of Cueto’s last name.

The Wild Card game is perfectly unfair to the participants and perfectly fair to the division winners. It makes winning a baseball division mean something more than home-field advantage, which was the only advantage division winners had over wild card teams in the past.

Pittsburgh had to use Francisco Liriano last night, which means Liriano won’t be able to pitch until later in the Division Series against St. Louis. If Pittsburgh thinks that is unfair, the Pirates should have won the division.

The Wild Card game is a crazy risk with an unlikely reward.

From the start of the season, every team knows the rules. Every team knows the format for the playoffs. There was no surprise here. No trickery.

Cincinnati’s loss last night was perfectly fair and square.

And final.

Reds’ record last 10 years:

  • 2013 – 90-72 (lost in NL Wild Card game to Pittsburgh)
  • 2012 – 97-65 (lost in NLDS to San Francisco)
  • 2011 – 79-83
  • 2010 – 91-71 (lost in NLDS to Philadelphia)
  • 2009 – 78-84
  • 2008 – 74-88
  • 2007 – 72-90
  • 2006 – 80-82
  • 2005 – 73-89
  • 2004 – 76-86

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