Tampa Bay Rays Giving What MLB Wanted When They Added Second Wild Card

By James Williams
John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

If you are a fan of the Tampa Bay Rays today, then you are a big fan of the second MLB Wild Card slot. Today on this the 162 and final game of the 2013 season, the Rays must beat the Toronto Blue Jays or will very likely miss the postseason. Tampa Bay is in the midst of a battle between three teams for two playoff spots, something that baseball and television executives were hoping for when they added the second Wild Card spot last year.

The goal of MLB was to have teams playing meaningful games  on the very last day of the season and perhaps beyond. They wanted to be the lead story on an NFL Sunday. This morning, the front of sports pages around the country are talking about the Wild Card madness. Three cities in the AL that have NFL teams will be glued to their televisions watching baseball.

I can tell you that in their Park Avenue offices, MLB executives are almost giddy over what could happen today and the Rays are right in the middle of all the baseball talk. Here is what could happen today and you will see why the MLB bosses are so very happy.

If the Cleveland Indians beat the Minnesota Twins and the Rays and the Texas Rangers remain tied after Sunday’s games, the Rays and Rangers would meet in a one-game playoff for the second Wild Card spot on Monday in Arlington. Should the Rays win Sunday and Indians and Rangers both lose, Tampa Bay would host Cleveland in Wednesday’s Wild Card game based on a 4-2 regular-season record between the clubs.

If all three finish the regular season tied, the tie-breaking scenario would have the Indians hosting the Rays on Monday, with the winner earning one Wild Card berth and the loser playing at Texas on Tuesday for the final spot. There is no doubt that Rays fans are on their last nerve and they hope that there is a game tomorrow — anywhere.

Rant Sports columnist James Williams is a seven time Emmy Award winner as a producer, director, and writer. Follow him on Twitter @Wordmandc or add him to your Google circle.

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