Wild-card roster rules are ... wild
MLB has made a most curious decision when it comes to roster rules for the wild-card round of the postseason.
|The wild-card round figures to feature lots of managerial strolling and pointing. (Getty Images)|
Eventually, I came around to the idea of the expanded wild-card format. While I'm generally opposed to anything that diminishes the importance of the regular season (as a larger playoff fray necessarily does), the structure made the new system acceptable. In essence, the new format, because it forces the wild-card winners into a single "coin flip" game (to invoke the Joe Sheehan term). By extension, it places a premium on winning the division. I'm with you so far, MLB!
But now comes this. Buster Olney of ESPN the Magazine reports via ESPN.com that MLB has instituted some frankly stupid roster rules for the wild-card round of the postseason (subscription required -- and that subscription will force you to receive ESPN the Magazine whether you want to or not). Olney writes:
The wild-card games will be conducted under circumstances we’ve never seen before in the postseason. The participating teams will set 25-man rosters for this one-game, winner-take-all extravaganza — rosters that don’t have to carry over to the Division series matchup. So the Braves and the other wild-card entrants don’t have to carry multiple starting pitchers.
If there's one thing the modern manager doesn't need, it's even more latitude and license to make, in essence, unlimited pitching changes. Beyond that, though, why should the wild-card games be played under different rules? I see no reason why wild-card teams should be entitled to change their postseason rosters after said postseason begins. That this is a recipe for four-and-a-half hour games seems the least of its problems.