"Selig recalled how he was told during the mid-90s that '25 teams couldn't win' because the sport's economics were stacked unfairly against franchises that didn't play in the most lucrative areas"
Let's explore the mid-'90s:
- In 1993, the Blue Jays won their second title in a row. This was shortly after the 1980s -- ten different Champions in ten years.
- In 1994, the Expos and the Yankees had the best records in baseball when the season was interrupted because of the strike.
- The 1995 WS was Braves over Indians.
- In 1996, the underdog Yankees beat the Braves in the WS.
Because he didn't think that. It's revisionist history.
All of this nonsense is an over-reaction to the success of the 1998 Yankees.
You got what you wanted. It totally works out if there's a one-run Game Seven, but I fail to see how that particular excitement is a function of the Wild Card playoff system.
I can prove, with actual data, the the "hope and faith" nonsense did not boost attendance in any wild card city ... not even KC was into it until the very end of the season.
I can also prove, with data, that the World Series was a ratings disaster. I can't prove that the ratings tanked because the teams were relatively lame -- the first sub-90-win teams to ever face each other in the WS. I can't prove it, but the numbers speak for themselves.