MLB Adds Two New Playoff Spots

How does a team win a World Series?  Blood, sweat, tears, all of those things, but the most important thing is getting into the playoffs in the first place.  Something that the Cubs have had trouble with, only making it to the season ending tournament 15 times in their 136 year history.  Major League Baseball added two wild card spots, one in the National League and one in the American League today, bringing the total numbers of teams making the playoffs to ten.  “This change increases the rewards of a division championship and allows two additional markets to experience playoff baseball each year,” commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement.  I’m never going to argue with something that gives the Cubs a better chance to make the playoffs year in and year out.  I also can’t disagree with increasing the importance of winning the division, it’s an accomplishment and too many years have gone by without a reward for such a thing.

How Will it Work?

The result of the change is a new one-game, wild-card round in each league between the teams with the best records who are not division winners.

For the 2012 postseason, the five-game Division Series will begin with two home games for lower seeds, followed by home games for the higher seed. After that, it will return to the 2-2-1 format previously used.

  • Here’s the tricky thing with implementing this change in playoff structure this year.  Since the schedule’s have already been drafted and released, MLB had to find a way to fit that extra game in without altering the World Series schedule.

Another change that is making waves is both sides reached a consensus that ties for division titles would be broken on the field with a tiebreaker game under the new format, and not by head-to-head record.  While this might be tough for the teams that are involved in the tiebreaker, it definitely makes for must see TV at the end of the season, but before the playoffs start.  It’s a huge deal for MLB because they can generate all their playoff TV buzz with these tiebreaker games, then the wild card games.  Audiences should be more than ready for the Divisional Series’ to start after seeing those games.  The players seem to be ready to get this started as well, “The players are eager to begin playing under this new format in 2012, and they look forward to moving to full realignment in 2013,” MLBPA executive director Michael Weiner said.  All in all it looks like the players, the teams, and the executives in Major League Baseball are ready for this move.  As a fan I can say that I am as well, don’t get me wrong, a major reason I grew to love the game was that the number of participants in the playoffs were limited.  There was no chance of a “bad” team winning the World Series, however, the number of teams in the league grows, more and more parity is in the game, and the Wild Card round has not only given the Cubs a better shot to make the playoffs, but it has made the postseason that much more interesting because fans don’t want to see the same teams over and over, now they will get to see two more.  Thanks for reading.

George Cotugno

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