As the season heads into its final month and a half, and the playoff races really start to heat up, oftentimes the wild card races shape up to be the most interesting part of the final few weeks of the season. That leads me to wonder: would Major League Baseball benefit from adding a second wild card in each league?

The fact of the matter is, it is far harder to reach the postseason in baseball than in any of the other three U.S. major sports, with not even a third of all baseball teams reaching the playoffs.

One school of thought is that adding another team to the playoff picture would help to address the current balance of power issue, which has been well documented this season in the AL East.

To elaborate, the Red Sox currently find themselves six games back of the Yankees for the division lead, and 4.5 games behind the Rays for the wild card. So if the playoffs started today, they would be heading home for the season. However, despite having the third-best record in their own division, the Red Sox have the fourth-best record in the entire American League.

A second wild card would ensure that the top four teams in the league are in the playoffs, as well as the three division winners. In that sense, it would not take away the significance of winning a division, while it would negate the issue of having one dominant division forced to battle it out for two spots.

Now, in order for a two-wild card system to work, a play-in round of sorts would need to be set up for the two wild cards to fight it out for a spot in the standard postseason alignment. A quick best-of-three series between the two wild cards immediately following season’s end would seem like the most reasonable scenario.

While this sounds like a simple enough solution, it is not without its drawbacks, and a number of issues would need to be addressed.

The starting pitching situation is one issue that immediately comes to mind. With the two wild card teams more than likely forced to trot out their top pitchers during the play-in series, they would be unable to set their rotation to match up with their next opponent should they advance. So instead of seeing a C.C. Sabathia vs. David Price matchup in Game One, we may instead see a C.C. Sabathia vs. Wade Davis, with the Yankees clearly having an upper hand in that scenario.

Another issue would be the excessive travel that would take place during the proposed three-game series, as it would only be fair for each team to get at least one home game. Factoring in an off day for travel, the three game series could potentially add another week to the playoffs.

That leads to the next issue, which is the simple fact that in many cities, the end of October is pushing it for what would be considered “baseball weather,” and lengthening the playoffs could lead to weather problems and just an overall unpleasant World Series experience for the fans.

Clearly, a two-wild card system has its advantages for both the players and the fans, and whenever more teams are given a chance at winning a championship, it is good for the sport. However, a number of issues would need to be addressed in order for such a change to be made, and some of those issues may not be quite so easy to overcome.

So what do you think? Would baseball be better off adding a second wild card, or is the current playoff system fine just the way it is?

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