When baseball began geographic divisions made sense. Travel over long distances was arduous, and local or regional rivalries stoked the fan base.
Today, in an age of rapid and easy long distance travel, geographic divisions no longer pass muster. There are still some logistical advantages to clustering most games in a given region, and rivalries still have power. But playoff fates should not depends on the vagaries of a team's division, but rather on that team's performance.
Who am I speaking about? The Chicago Cubs, of course. Their 97-65 regular season record is one of the best in baseball. Alas, the Cubs are in by far the strongest division in baseball -- the NL Central. Their recor tops that of all other division winners, but is the only the third best in their own backyard. For this reason the Cubs must travel to Pittsburgh for a play-in wild card game this Wednesday.
A modest proposal (which I suspect has been broached before): Keep the divisional system for record season rivalry and logistical purposes. But then pick the teams with the top five records in each league for the playoffs, regardless of division. The top three teams would have guaranteed series berths, the fourth and fifth best teams would appear in the play-in wildcard game. This year that would be the Mets v Dodgers and not Cubs v Pirates, and that would be a better world.