Whether it does them any good the first time around, the Cubs say they like the addition of another wild-card team to the playoff field in each league.
``I think if we're in the league with the fewest teams in the playoffs, we need to catch up. We need to get more,'' third base coach and former big-league infielder Pat Listach said.
Of course, in the NFL, where 12 teams make the playoffs, they play only 16 games. In the NBA (16 qualifiers), they play 82.
Critics of baseball's system have said throughout the wild-card era that the 162-game schedule should mean more.
``It does,'' Listach insists, adding, ``Win more games. I like [the new system].''
In 1992, when Listach was the American League Rookie of the Year, his Milwaukee Brewers would have been the top wild-qualifier in a two-division A.L. if a wild-card system had been in place - instead missing the playoffs despite 92 wins.
Under the new system, which goes into effect this year, the two wild cards in each league have a one-game, loser-out playoff that sends the winner against the league's top team for a five-game division series.
``I think it's kind of cool,'' said third baseman Ian Stewart. ``Some people may think it's making it kind of crowded, or `What's the point?' But I think it's good. There's a lot of teams that miss out by just a game. This gives them a chance to get in. If I'm one of the teams where I've got to play that team and we lose, we're going to think that sucks.
``But it's interesting. ... I'm sure we'll see a team someday get in and then win that one game and then go on to win a World Series. It should be exciting.''
If anybody should know, it's Stewart, whose 2007 Rockies beat San Diego in a one-game playoff that year in what would currently have been the wild-card playoff game.
``Exactly,'' he said.