When the MLB powers that be decided that TWO wild cards would increase interest in the final days of the baseball season, they knew what they were doing, didn’t they? How many fans are being lured to watch the scores of teams they rarely care about just because of the two-team wild card scenario? How helpless do you suppose they feel checking the scores every morning for games played by the Yankees, Tampa Bay, Cleveland, Baltimore, Kansas City and Texas, just to see which team might win a wild card spot in the playoffs?
But, as this cartoon by Nelson Greene from 1914 shows, professional baseball has been the Pied Piper of America for many, many years. In 1914, a “Third Major League” made its debut and instead of 16 teams to cheer on, American baseball enthusiasts now had 24! Of these, New Yorkers had four teams to root for—the American League’s New York Yankees, the National League’s New York Giants, the National League’s Brooklyn Robins, and the Federal League’s Brooklyn Tip-Tops. At the end of the season, the Yankees finished tied for sixth place, the Giants were in 2nd place, and the Robins and the Tip-Tops ended up in 5th place.