We Were One Timely Hit Away From Having The Outcome Of A One Game Playoff Potentially Decided By A Base Path PDA
To both the Rockies and those whose interests align with the integrity of the game, the Cubs grounding out to first to end an extra inning in which a runner was advanced safely into game-sealing scoring position by a warm embrace served as the aversion of a crisis. To someone like me, who is constantly looking for egregious examples that might strengthen my case that a one game playoff is an asininely small sample size in which to decide who deserves to advance following a rigorous 162 (in the Cubs' rare case, 163) game schedule, it feels like a missed opportunity.
This morning we are talking about an objectively exciting game that proved capable of sucking casual fans into ruining their Wednesdays by staying awake well past Tuesday. A game in which the "right" team won without controversy. A game that was undeniably good for Major League Baseball.
That said, with one more seeing eye single, we could just as easily be talking about how the largely hypothetical hindrance of one hug and the judgement call that soon followed potentially ruined all that one team had worked tirelessly for throughout the last six straight months. For what that would have done in tainting the outcome of a one game playoff, it would have at least brought full attention to how moronic it is for a one game playoff to exist in a temperamental sport that...wait for it...embraces its high level of human error.
To be clear, I think Nolan Arenado cost Colorado the ability to argue that a double play that would have ended the bottom of the 11th inning was a legitimate possibility when he leaned right into that hug and even threw in a little pat on the back for good measure. He seemed perfectly content, if not overly affectionate, in tagging out Javy Baez and tossing the ball back to his pitcher with two down. For that reason, I don't think an ensuing walk-off would have been some crime against conventional wisdom. But man, oh man, you can bet your sweet ass that we'd be trying to pinpoint exactly how problematic a base-path PDA was in deciding the entirety of one team's postseason fate if it were immediately followed by their season ending abruptly in the extra innings.
I highly doubt the MLB will ever see the error in their stubborn ways, but if they were to then it would more than likely take a circumstance that chaotic creating an unavoidable controversy. Credit to the Colorado Rockies as they earned their advancement, but we were one perfectly timed swing of a bat held by a Chicago Cub away from the type of mayhem that can inspire modifications to a puzzling playoff format.