(click “view full post” to read more)
- The two wild card teams from each league will play a one-game, winner-take-all contest to see who becomes the fourth seed in the Division Series.
- For 2012 only, the Division Series will start with the first two games in the lower seed’s park followed by three games at the higher seed’s park. This will cut out one off day to help fit the extra wild card playoff possible.
- The three division winners will get an extra day off allowing them to better set up their pitching rotations for the playoffs.
The extra two teams making the wild card means that ten out of thirty major league teams–or a full third–will now have post season hopes. The two wild card team format also ensures that teams in sight of the division win but ahead in the wild card race can’t coast into the playoffs to set up their rotations. Depending on whether you believe Brian Cashman or Joe Girardi, the New York Yankees forgave the division title in 2010 to rest some banged up players heading into the playoffs. Such doings will no longer be an option if faced with a one-game elimination round.
No doubt there will be much debate by baseball fans in the days to come. Teams on the fringes will have new hope of getting a post season chance. Teams that are clearly the fourth best team in each league might chafe having to face an elimination game against a team with perhaps a worse record. Some will praise the move because it means more baseball at the end of the season. Others will call it a watering down of the playoff system.
Either way, this is the new reality. The extra team playoff format was part of the collective bargaining agreement just signed between MLB and its players and was a trade off of the Houston Astros moving to the American League in 2013. The bottom line is that the New York Yankees have to have one goal in mind: Winning their division.