“I think for teams like Atlanta _ who had an unbelievable year, and it could be ruined by one game _ it’s probably unfair,” Washington first baseman Adam LaRoche said.
“Now, in one game, any given day, a college team could beat a big league team. It’s just the way the ball rolls. So I don’t know how much one game proves as far as who deserves to move on,” he said. “You almost have to do it two out of three. But then you get other teams sitting around for a week. So I don’t know the right way to do it.”
Braves second baseman Dan Uggla isn’t a fan.
“I’m not for this new playoff thing at all,” he said. “They’re kind of messing things up for everybody.”
This could be the last game for Uggla’s star teammate, with Jones set to retire at age 40.
Orioles All-Star center fielder Adam Jones also is in jeopardy. His team returns to the postseason for the first time since 1997, but could be ousted before it gets a home playoff game.
“I’m sure there are some people in Baltimore that are frustrated. Of course you want Camden Yards rocking,” he said.
“This is the situation we put ourselves in. We’re happy to be in the situation, and we’re going to take full advantage of the opportunity,” he said.
This is not the first time a whole season has come down to one game.
Baseball history is filled with thrilling one-game playoffs _ the Bucky Dent home run in 1978, Matt Holliday heading home in the 13th inning in 2007, among others. But those came about naturally, tiebreakers forced by final-day developments.
Minnesota’s Ron Gardenhire is the only person to manage two one-game division tiebreakers, losing 1-0 to the Chicago White Sox in 2008, then beating Detroit 6-5 in 12 innings the following year.
“When we won Game 163 against Detroit, that was probably one of the funnest times I’ve had on a baseball field,” he said. “After everything you’ve been through to go and play and get one chance and lose 1-0 was really heartbreaking.
“And you’re going to see that this year. You go through a whole big battle like they’ve gone through down the end with every game, every inning, every pitch meaning something and then you get one game? Somebody is going to go, `We did all that for this?’”
The NFL is set up for one-and-dones. The NBA and NHL play a series in the postseason. So did baseball _ best-of-five, best-of-seven _ until adding this mini-round.
“I wish it was a three-game playoff,” Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. “I’ve clinched and I wait for you and you just got here, and one game, anybody can win, and I’m done? I wish they would cut the season to 159 and play three games. A lot of people would love that.”