According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, Major League Baseball has approved a plan for playoffs to expand this year. The new format will include an additional Wild Card team in each league.
The two Wild Cards in each league will square off in a one game playoff to determine who moves on face the division winner with best record that season.
The league will make an official announcement tomorrow.
Original Post 1/28
According to the Associated Press, Commissioner Bud Selig stated that he expects the expanded playoffs to take effect this upcoming season. Under the new CBA that was already agreed upon back in November, the playoffs would expand into a 10-team bracket, but the remaining question has been whether the new postseason would take effect this year or in 2013. Now it appears that baseball is leaning towards beginning the new format starting 2012.
“I really believe we’ll have the wild card for 2012, this year,” Selig said Friday at a White Sox fan fest. “Clubs really want it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an issue that the clubs want more than to have the extra wild card this year.”
“We’re working on dates right now. That’ll all take place. It looks to me like we’ll have it because I’ve told everybody we have to have it. It’ll be exciting. One-game playoff, it will start the playoffs in a very exciting manner,” he said.
The major issue comes down to scheduling as the season is scheduled to end on October 3rd and the World Series would begin on the 24th, leaving not a whole lot of time for tie brakers at the end of the year, let alone a one-game playoff.
The added wild card gives the two winningest franchises in each league who did not win their respective divisions a playoff spot. The two wild card teams then have to play each other in a one game, winner-take-all series. After that, the previous playoff bracket would resume. This new format gives teams more incentive to win their divisions rather than settling for the wild card.
If this second wild card had been around earlier, Mike Silva says the Mets would have made the playoffs every year from 1984-1990, and also made the playoffs in 1997, 1999, 2000, 2006, 2007 and 2008. Imagine a Mets franchise that would have made the playoffs in ’07 and ’08; chances are they would not be in the same situation they are now. Should be interesting to see how this extra wild card impacts the game down the road.