Thinking about the Giants ownership group during the Magowan/Neukom years got me to thinking. Their philosophy has always been to "be in contention." It has never been to win it all, but rather, to try and make the postseason. That means that they make the playoffs a lot, but just as often, fall just short. Well, wouldn’t the additional wild card entry into the post-season be perfect for just such a team?
The new playoff system would allow 2 additional teams in each year for a total of 34 additional opportunities for post-regular season play. On average, you would expect each team to get one additional opportunity, but that's not how the system works. So how do the teams fare?
I decided to look back over the wildcard era 1995-2011, and find out what years the Giants would've been allowed to have a one-time playoff had the wildcard system been in place, and also what teams would’ve been helped most by the new playoff system.
From 1995-2011, there were 17 seasons of baseball. The Giants went to the playoffs 5 times over those 17 seasons: 2010, 2003, 2002, 2000, 1997. Under the new playoff system, they would have been the second wild card team 4 additional times: 2009, 2004, 2001, 1998. That's the most in all of baseball. Two other seasons, they ended up having the third best NL record, 2011 and 1999, although they were only in contention for the 2011 season. In 1999, they ended up 10 games behind the second wild card, Cincinatti. That leaves 6 other seasons when they were entirely out of contention.
Teams with additional post-regular season games under the new system:
Four seasons: Giants
Three seasons: Boston, Dodgers
Divisions granted additional post-regular season games:
AL East: 5
AL Central: 5
AL West: 6
NL West: 9
NL Central: 3
NL East: 5
The clear winner is the NL West. The Giants and Dodgers alone would've had more additional playoff games than any other division in baseball.
Full Seasonal List of Wild Card teams
Below, please find the full list of seasons, wild card teams, wild card 2 teams, and what happened to the Giants each season.
2011: WC: TBR, STL WC2: BOS, ATL Giants: 3 games back of ATL, next best record.
2010: WC: NYY, ATL WC2: BOS, SDP TGWTWS
2009: WC: COL, BOS WC2: Giants, TEX
2008: WC: BOS, MIL WC2: NYY, NYM Giants: 17 games out
2007: WC: NYY, COL WC2: DET, SDP Giants: 18 games out
2006: WC: DET, LAD WC2: CHW, PHI Giants: 9 games out
2005: WC: BOS, HOU WC2: CLE, PHI Giants: 12 games out
2004: WC: BOS, HOU WC2: Giants, OAK
2003: WC: BOS, FLA WC2: SEA, HOU Giants: Won Division
2002: WC: ANA, SFG WC2: BOS, LAD Giants: went to the WS as WC1
2001: WC: OAK, STL WC2: MIN, Giants
2000: WC: NYM, SEA WC2: LAD, CLE Giants: Won Division - best record in league.
1999: WC: NYM, BOS WC2: CIN, OAK Giants: 10 games back of CIN, but next best record
1998: WC: BOS, CHC WC2: TOR, Giants
1997: WC: NYY, FLA WC2: ANA, LAD Giants: Won Division
1996: WC: LAD, BAL WC2: MON, SEA Giants: 20 games back. 3rd worst team in the majors.
1995: WC: NYY, COL WC2: CAL(LAA), HOU Giants: 9 games back