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As races heat up, some wild-card kudos

When baseball introduced the wild card, skeptics said it would hurt the integrity of the season. But no one's complaining about the wild card now.

Originally Published: September 1, 2005
By Joe Morgan | ESPN Insider

When commissioner Bud Selig introduced the wild card prior to the 1994 season, plenty of skeptics said it would hurt the integrity of the 162-game season. But no one is complaining about the wild card now.

It has accomplished exactly what Selig wanted it to accomplish -- that is, the wild card has kept baseball in the headlines in September. Before '94, when the division races were decided early, football came to the forefront and baseball lost its fans until the playoffs started.

Today, more and more teams are involved in the wild-card races, so sports fans across the country retain their interest in major-league baseball. Without the wild card, too many fans lost interest from late August until October. With the success of the wild card, MLB remains a major part of the sports scene down the stretch -- it no longer gives September to football.

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