The Yankees may or may not make the postseason. The answer is probably not. Right now, I’m much more concerned with my favorite late-season possibility: the three-way tie.
We all remember some of the classic playoff tiebreaker games. But we’ve never had a three-way tiebreaker. That scenario used to be pretty amazing, but the new wildcard system has made it even crazier.
If three teams finish with the same record for the two wild card spots, the following happens:
In a situation where there is a three way tie between non division winners and there is no other non division winner with a better record claiming wild card 1; a tiebreaker eliminating 1 of the 3 teams will follow. Based on a group head to head record. Teams A, B and C will be created. Team B will travel to team A. The winner wins wild card one. The loser will go to team C. The winner of that game wins wild card two. After those two games, wild card teams one and two will play each other in the wild card round. Can be an” A/B rematch”.
The following day the winners play for the wild card spot. That means that even before the ALDS begins, one team could be subjected to three single-elimination games in a row, possibly repeating opponents.
So, what’s the current status of the crazy scenario? Its looking about as good as a highly improbable event can look:
Not bad! If, say,the Indians go 8-2 in their final 10 games, the Rangers go 8-3, and the Rays go 7-4, we’ve got a three way tie!
But, Baltimore could go 9-2 and create… a 4-way tie! What happens then?
After Clubs have been assigned their A, B, C and D designations, Club A would host Club B and Club C would host Club D. The winners of each of those games would be declared the Wild Card Clubs.
So, the wild card race essentially becomes a four-team single-elimination tournament. Its actually a little bit easier than the three-way tie, as the eventual wild card winner is guaranteed only two games.
Finally, we could get the all-time craziest scenario. Say the Tampa Bay Rays pull away and go 8-3 in their final 11 games. They’ll finish with 91 wins, and the first wild card spot. But, the Rangers go 7-4, the Indians go 7-3, the Orioles go 8-3, and your New York Yankees go an insane 9-1. We’d have a four-way tie for one wild card spot:
After Clubs have been assigned their A, B, C and D designations, Club A would host Club B and Club C would host Club D on Day 1. The winners of each of those games would then meet on Day 2, hosted by the winner of the game between Club A and Club B, to determine the Wild Card Club.
Now, we’re talking about a four-team single-elimination tournament in order to secure the chance to play a single-elimination game against the Tampa Bay Rays. All in three days. And then, the clubs have to immediately pack it up and start the real playoffs.
Please MLB, give me a crazy tie!