MLB – Probable Postseason Change
Eight teams make the playoffs in the current postseason format in Major Leauge Baseball; four from each of the American and National Leagues. Of the four teams representing each league, there are three division winners and one “wild card”. The wild card is awarded to the team with the best record amongst the teams that did not win a division title. The first round of the postseason, called the Division Series (ALDS, and NLDS), has the four teams from each league play a best of five-game series determined by rank to see who moves on to the Championship Series. The Championship Series (ALCS, and NLCS) has the remaining two teams from each league play a best of seven-game series to see who represents their respective league in the World Series. The World Series has the winner from each league play a seven-game series to determine who is the best team in baseball.
It’s an efficient format, but the downfall is that only eight teams make the postseason. In a league of 30 teams, that’s less than one-third. So making the postseason is tough, and if you’re a team like the Blue Jays it’s next to impossible being stuck in a division with two of the most dominate teams in Baseball. The Red Sox and Yankees are almost always fighting for the division lead, and whoever loses usually claims the lone wild card spot. Will the new proposed format change that? Well… no, not really. But it will give teams like the Jays a better shot.
There is a newly proposed format which will see 10 teams make the post season instead of the current eight. Basically everything will remain the same with the three division winners going through, but now instead of one wild card spot, there would be two. The implications are very encouraging for teams who have been on the fringe of playoff baseball such as the Jays. Toronto could finish third in their division and still earn a birth into the postseason. The other twist would be that before the Division Series there would be an extra round in where the two wild card teams from each league would square off in a one game playoff to see who plays in the Division Series.
To use the Jays analogy again, if the Red Sox finished first in the division, and the Yankees finished second and took the first wild card spot, the Jays (providing they had the best record of the remaining teams) could take the second wild card spot, beat the Yankees in a one game playoff, and move on to the ALDS. The only downfall is that you would probably use your best pitcher for the one game playoff making him unavailable for the first few games of the next series. Aside from that it’s a step in the right direction. And that is the last word.