April 4, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; MLB commissioner Bud Selig in attendance before the opening day game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Miami Marlins at Marlins Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRELast season Major League Baseball added an extra wild card spot to each league. The 2 wild card winners in each league would play each other in 1 elimination game with the winner going to the division series and the loser’s season being over right then and there.
When the extra wild card spot was introduced most Toronto Blue Jays fans were excited. Getting into the playoffs under the old playoff format seemed like Mission Impossible with the Blue Jays being stuck in the AL East with 3 championship caliber teams.
With the Blue Jays being in the AL East fans just hoped the Blue Jays could win that 2nd wild card spot one of these years and get lucky enough to win the 1 game elimination game. With the 2nd wild card spot there are bound to be seasons where 88 – 90 wins would be enough to win the 2nd wild card. That was the case last season in the National League with the St Louis Cardinals winning 88 games for the 2nd wild card. The Blue Jays no longer had to shoot for the stars every season to get into the playoffs.
Sure, it’s not fair to the top wild card team who wins more games that they could get eliminated from the playoffs in 1 game to a team that lost more games in the season. As a Blue Jays fan you couldn’t have cared less about that because they’ve never had a realistic chance of winning the division or top wild card spot. You just wanted to see the Blue Jays make the playoffs anyway they can.
That is until this offseason when Alex Anthopoulos flipped the script on the Toronto Blue Jays. The Blue Jays GM made moves this offseason that took the Jays from a team that had an outside chance of winning the 2nd wild card to “on paper” being a real contender.
With the risk that comes with the wild card spots Anthopoulos might have to go a little crazier this offseason and at the trade deadline to put the Blue Jays in a position that they can win the AL East. That means spending extra money they wouldn’t have normally spent or trading prospects they wouldn’t have normally traded under the old playoff format.
An extra wild card spot also means the Blue Jays could have their first magical 90 something win season in 20 years as the top wild card winner and see it all get lost in just 1 elimination game to a team that didn’t win as many games.
What once was an exciting new way for the Blue Jays to sneak into the playoffs could now come back to bite them.