Monday, January 8, 2018

Why The MLB Wild Card Games Are More Exciting Than NFL Wild Card Games - In One Word

On my facebook page on Saturday morning, Jan. 6, 2018, I wrote this: "No I am not looking forward to these Wild Card NFL games that the home teams will probably win and maybe even blowout fashion. It might be just me but it seems like the MLB Wild Card games are more exciting and dramatic than the NFL or even the 1st round in the NBA. Maybe it’s because baseball is my favorite sport, but I don't think it is just that."

I got to thinking, why is it that there seems to be more drama and excitement in the MLB Wild Card games [or early playoff games] than in the National Football League, when football is also a great game.

Then it came to me in one word: "pitching".  Unlike the other major sports that almost always have the same lineups game in and game out [unless there are injuries], baseball has one position that always changes each game: that is the starting pitcher.  So, while in football the teams will be going with their same quarterback, with usually the better team having the better quarterback, and therefore, especially in the Wild Card games, it will be predictable in the results-with usually the favorite team [with the better quarterback] winning; in Major League Baseball in the winner take all Wild Card games, each team, because it is an elimination game will be using their best starting pitcher available - their "ace" [that even the not so good teams have at least one good starting pitcher-who can win on any given day].  Also, if that starting pitcher is not on his game that day, because the game is an elimination game with loser going home, each team will not be afraid to bring in their best relievers early in the game, and even some of their starters if need be, to try and win the game and stay alive. Have you ever seen in an NFL Wild Card game or any playoff game, a team bring in their backup QB early in the game if the starting QB doesn't seem to have his stuff? No, because that is why they are back up QB's because they are not good enough to be starters. In baseball that is not true. Some of the relief pitchers have as good, if not better, stuff than the starting pitchers.  

World Champion "Ace" pitcher for the Houston Astros
All that [each team using their best pitchers-starters and relievers in these elimination Wild Card games] makes for more drama and excitement and unpredictability in the Major League Baseball Wild Card games over the NFL Wild Card games in my opinion. Plus, in baseball the uncertainty of the winners in any playoff series extends not just to the winner take all Wild Card games, but to all the baseball playoff series.  So, that also adds to the Wild Card games added drama in MLB that you don't have in the NFL Wild Card games-because you know the winner of the Wild Card games [no matter if the favorite or underdog] could very well go on to win the World Series.  In the NFL, sorry, but if Buffalo or Tennessee or Carolina have an upset win in their Wild Card games over this weekend, they are not going to go on to win the Super Bowl, IMHO. It is even worse in the NBA, especially in the early rounds of the playoffs as upsets are almost as rare as me winning the super lottery....which has never happened.  :-)  And if there does happen to be the rare upset in the early rounds of the NBA, those teams will almost never go to the NBA finals and win the championship.  You can almost pen in the few teams that have an actual chance to go to the finals in the NBA playoffs. 

So, in my personal opinion, give me the baseball playoffs, baby!  Which reminds me, it won't be long before Spring training begins!  :-) 


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