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Field of Links: Why the A’s benefit greatly from no. 2 playoff seed

Oct 3, 2013, 8:46 AM PDT

The Rays could be a very dangerous opponent in the ALDS. Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Major League Baseball’s Wild Card games capture the intensity fitting of a win-or-go-home game in a convenient and tidy package. The games give the fans in an additional two cities hope. They also rake in extra ticket sales, postseason apparel sales and plenty of other profits for MLB.

The format, however, is a little screwed up.

Last season, the powers that be in baseball decided to start the teams with home field advantage on the road — thus, eliminating their actual advantage — in order to limit the travel burden of the Wild Card teams. Now, another obvious flaw will soon be exposed. The top-seeded playoff team absolutely gets the shaft.

The Boston Red Sox have been sitting around waiting to play while the Tampa Bay Rays have been blasting through teams like a bolt from Chewbacca’s bowcaster.

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Well done, SB Nation.

The Rays won game 163 against the Rangers and took out the Indians 4-0 in the A.L. Wild Card Game on Wednesday. They have been playing with their backs against the wall since September. They could do everyone a favor and knock out the top team in the American League by catching them at the right time. Rest isn’t really a good thing in baseball. Check out what A’s manager Bob Melvin told Joe Stiglich about the extra time off.

“Sometimes that wild card team is the most dangerous team because they’re playing every day, scratching and clawing to get in,” Melvin said. “There’s a lot of intensity in the way they play, then they move right into it.”

The A’s and Tigers are the second and third seeds and they are on a more even playing field. They each have an extra four days off. Speaking of time off, the Tigers looked unstoppable last season, before they had five days off and then got swept by the San Francisco Giants in the World Series. Good luck, Red Sox.

Baseball should expedite the Wild Card games and not spread them out so much. That would help fix the problem.

— Here’s a story that didn’t get enough attention: Sacramento Kings’ center DeMarcus Cousins took $1 million from his freshly inked four-year, $62 million contract and donated it to charity. Cousins’ character has been questioned in the past, but this was a major sign of maturity. Cousins is one of the most dynamic big men in the league and now he has Shaquille O’Neal to keep him in check.

— 49ers safety Donte Whitner was upset over recent penalties and fines. His solution: Change his last name to “Hitner.” That will surely stop the league from targeting him. It’s not a joke. He’s really doing it. Here’s an artist’s rendering of what his new jersey will look like.

Here’s (W)hitner’s surprisingly very rational explanation:

Field of Links: 

From A’s to Zubaz.

— Jordan Spieth hit a hole-in-one, but it didn’t count. (It was during a practice round)

Tony La Russa has 17 rescue cats in his home.

Here’s a detailed behind-the-scenes tour of the 49ers new stadium.

Football is way more dangerous than we realized.

The Chicago Cubs accidentally threw away a bunch of Ron Santo memorabilia… Then lied about it. Fortunately a local bar owner found it.

—  Patrick Roy is a coach now… Is still pretty crazy.

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— He’s also known for this awesome goalie fight.

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