As we all know, the Pirates have been bounced in the Wild Card game the past two seasons, falling captive to the arms of Madison Bumgarner, and Jake Arrieta, respectively. Come to think of it, Bumgarner destroyed the Bucs with his bat as well, with a monster home run. Both of these devastating losses were at home at PNC Park in front of record sell out crowds with a sea of black standing on their feet.
As it stands, the two wild card teams, the fourth and fifth seeds in the playoffs, play a one game, winner take all series. Unfortunately, the Pirates haven’t been able to generate any offense in these games for the past two seasons, because they have faced MVP and CY Young arms. When looking at the format, it may be unfair for teams that don’t have a completely dominant ace, and it may favor teams who have one of the best arms in the game.
The Pittsburgh Pirates General Manager, Neal Huntington, has been publicly in favor of changing the format. He has proposed the idea of having a best of three series, where the first team to two wins will move on. Logically, this makes sense, due to the Pirates’ struggles the past few years in the current wild card format. However, I believe this is a case of the Pirates settling and looking out for themselves. Obviously, they should be looking out for themselves, but when you have the second best overall record in Major League Baseball for the past three seasons combined, you should not have to settle for a wild card game, nor should you be calling for a new format.
The Pirates need to make a leap this year, and that leap begins with taking home the NL Central crown. Enough is enough, we can talk all we want about how it is amazing that the Pirates have made the playoffs three years in a row after a 20+ year drought, but news flash, no other team would be content with this like the city of Pittsburgh is. The Kansas City Royals had a similar drought, and they have made it to the last two World Series, and they won last year. KC expects titles from the team they have, they don’t expect just a playoff appearance. They don’t complain about a playoff format, they go out and win. The reason I say no other team would settle is because the team that the Pirates have been able to field should win a World Series.
That brings me back to Neal Huntington and his new wild card format proposal. The Pirates shouldn’t even have to worry about the wild card format, because they should either win the division and get a spot locked up in a series, or they should be able to go win ONE game, and move on to a series. The Pirates figured out how to beat the Cubs and Cardinals all year, but when the playoffs came around, they were dead against the Cubs. Do you know how they can win the division? Beat the Reds, and Brewers! They went under .500 to two teams that went under .500 last year. That is inexcusable. Beat the MLB bottom-feeders, and the Pirates will have an NL Central crown.
Quit settling for a playoff spot, Pittsburgh. That goes for the players, coaches, executives, the city, and the fans! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! Win the NL Central and make a run! The Pirates have the team to do so, and it is time! Quit complaining about the wild card format, and win the game.
Burgh Blog Writer
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