Pirates' plight unlikely to prompt change in 's one-game wild-card

Baseball So much of baseball's essence is built on patience: No racing against a clock, allowing a season to unfold over the

course of six months and 162 games so there are no flukes in contention at the end.The single-game wild-card playoff employed by since 2012 is a completely different animal. One-and-done is thrilling when it comes in Game 7 of a hard-fought series, but has a crueler feel when a team sees its playoff "run" end a mere three hours after it began. MORE: Baseball's 13 best TV show appearances | The radical plan to realign baseball's divisionsThe Pirates already are staring down that possibility as they seem ticketed for the wild-card game for the third consecutive season. They prevailed in 2013 and lost last season (to the eventual World Series champion Giants), but they didn't enter either of those contests with the second-best record in the majors. That could very well happen this year, but don't expect their potential plight to prompt a change to a best-of-three system.“Personally, I think it is a mistake to get caught up in results," commissioner Rob Manfred told Fox Sports this week. "I understand what you’re saying about Pittsburgh and what has happened to them. I get it. But I think it’s a mistake to focus on an individual team as opposed to the system. …“When we went to this system, we wanted to try to encourage people to compete all the way to the end of the season to win the division. I think this system does that."Unfortunately for the Pirates, the only team that has been better than them during the regular season is the division-rival Cardinals. And just behind the Pirates in the NL Central are the Cubs, who own the third-best record in the league and the fourth-best mark in the majors entering Friday but appear destined for that one-game roulette wheel Oct. 7 at PNC Park.But, unfair as the current setup might seem to the Pirates — and Cubs, for that matter — the logistics involved in expanding the playoffs even further might be too much to overcome. Asking division winners, many of whom already could be playing meaningless games in the closing days of the regular season, to wait five or six days before opening the Division Series also becomes a fairness issue. That was a significant part of the discussion when the one-game playoff was installed, Manfred said.“They thought that would be such a disadvantage for the division winners, they didn’t buy into it," he said. "We may need to re-examine those dynamics. But I think those dynamics are a lot more important than, ‘Pittsburgh played really well, made the wild card, got beat in the first round.’”