Some rules in sports just don’t make sense. Take the path to the Super Bowl, for instance. You can be a middling team all season, but if you happen to stay healthy enough, make it to the playoffs, and then win a series of key games, then you’ll have a chance at Super Bowl glory.
That doesn’t mean you were the best team all season, but it does mean that you were able to win when it counted. This is pretty much the same reason why the Dodgers and other teams with great records have to play wild-card games in the MLB.
Wild-card games occur between two teams in a league who have the highest winning percentages within their respective divisions. The Dodgers were trailing behind the San Francisco Giants in the National League West, while the Cardinals were in second place, and the Brewers were taking the top spot in their division.
Even though the Dodgers had tied their season-win record at 106 games, they were forced to play a wild-card game. This meant that they had to fight for their shot at getting into the playoffs, which also meant that a win against the Cardinals was paramount to keeping their championship hopes alive.
Had they won two more games during the season, the Dodgers would’ve fared much better than the San Francisco Giants, and the Golden City would’ve been in the wild-card game. So if you’re not in the top spot in your division, then you have to fight for your right to a gun for the title. Thankfully for the Dodgers, they were able to emerge victorious in their contest against the Cardinals, and the game was thrilling through and through. Chris Taylor cracked a beautiful walk-off home run that had everyone in Dodgers stadium on their feet.
The Washington Post said of the moment: “This time of year, walk-off hits are the stuff of legend, once-in-a-lifetime moments of triumph. They inspire grown men to leave their feet and jump for joy. They stun the stoic into tears. But rarely, if ever, do they qualify as mere relief.”
It was argued that the “relief” felt by Dodgers fans after the home run was earned, especially considering that the Los Angeles squad was arguably playing the best baseball they ever have.