Two More Reasons to Work Hard All Year
The MLB has finally done the right thing and made some necessary changes. One of them being a new wild card format, allowing more teams to enter the postseason, which is long overdue. The new format will have two extra wild card spots. These spots are desperately needed as currently only eight teams make the postseason. And that is extremely minuscule compared to the other major sports leagues.
In the NFL we see 12 teams make the playoffs, and in the NBA and NHL we see 16. The other major change that was made was also long overdue. And that was moving the Houston Astros into the AL West division. Which gives both the American league and the National League 15 teams, instead of the 16/14 split they have now.
The current playoff format sees four teams from each league going to the postseason, the three division winners, and one wild card team. The new format will still have the three division winners going, but now there will be two wild card sports instead of one. Which means two more playoff teams, and more meaningful baseball being played in September/October. Well except for this past season that is.
If it were already implemented we wouldn’t have seen the intense wild card race we had the pleasure of watching this fall. Instead all four teams would have made it (Boston, Tampa, St. Louis, Atlanta). But for seasons to come this is great news! More teams will a see a reason to compete late in the season, and we should see more “down to the wire” seasons as we did this year.
Also, it means teams like the Blue Jays have one more reason to smile. Stuck in the toughest division in baseball, with perennial powerhouses New York and Boston, they now won’t be forced to best one of those two teams to make the postseason. Under the new format, it is possible for New York, Boston, and Toronto to all make the postseason. But even with an extra spot, it will still take about 90 wins to make it. I hope the Jays are up to the task, because it would be great to see some meaningful baseball played in Toronto this millennium.
As for the realignment change, well, it was subtle but necessary. Moving the Houston Astros from the NL Central division (currently with 6 teams), over to the AL West (currently with 4 teams), balances the league out perfectly with every division having 5 teams, and each league having 15. It also reunites the State of Texas, as the Astros will now be in the same division as the Texas Rangers. Many people wanted to see more drastic realignment changes, like splitting up Boston and New York into separate divisions, but the MLB wanted to play it safe. Which I think was the right move. They balanced the league out by making a necessary change, and there is no reason they can’t still talk about other changes in the future.
Both of the new wild card format, and the league realignment will be implemented for the start of the 2013 season.
…and that is the last word.