MLB to expand playoffs to 10 teams in 2012

Major League Baseball will announce this week that they are expanding the playoffs from eight teams to 10, including a pair of new wild-card teams, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.

The new system will include three division winners from each league and then the two teams with the best record in each league will play a one game playoff to determine who moves on to the LDS. It is a way to both expand the playoffs, more money for baseball, and punish wild-card winners who previously had no punishment compared to division winners.

This obviously puts a huge importance on winning the division because winning the wild-card means that an entire season can be taken down in one game. This is much different than in recent years where winning the wild-card was essentially the same as winning the division and it will avoid situations like we saw in 2010 where the Yankees tanked the division in order to face a weaker opponent in the ALDS.

It’s going to hit home right away as the both the Red Sox and the Yankees will not have a clear path to the playoffs. It’ll mean that when both teams are on their way to 95-100 win seasons September baseball will mean something again. We won’t have to wait until October to watch meaningful baseball.

It extends beyond that of course. The Rays, Orioles, and Blue Jays will all now have a better chance of actually beating the Yankees and Red Sox. And in every division, not just the AL East, it will increase competitiveness as that extra wild-card spot will guarantee nothing for good teams and will give a chance of hope to a team right on the boarderline of winning.

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5 Responses to MLB to expand playoffs to 10 teams in 2012

  1. gordybravo says:

    Great news for the teams in the middle of the pack.All you need is a chance,and if a team gets hot at the right time,any things possible,look at the last two WS winners.It means more Money for baseball,and more meaningful games in late September.

    • Mike Sommer says:

      Not a fan of this. Once again, mediocrity gets rewarded. We don't raise the bar and make teams achieve, we lower it. It's that way in life itself with some matters too, and that's a shame.

      • I don't really agree with this sentiment. Sure, two additional teams are technically getting into the playoffs, but it makes it harder for the wild-card to succeed. It's great that winning the division is going to matter again. Besides, the playoffs should expand as the league expands and there aren't 16 teams anymore.

        • Mike Sommer says:

          To each their own. I remember the pre-1969 divisional days. I didn't like when the wild card was implemented, but understood the need for it with three divisions. I guess I'm just old-fashioned, but as I stated, I hate seeing mediocrity rewarded. Like in the old Smith-Barney commercials, I like things the old-fashioned way. EARN it.

  2. Laura Holden says:

    The 2 best records play a 1 game playoff?Your over-simplified explanation makes no sense!Rather than taking this opportunity to accuse the Yankees of tanking it in 2010, than actually reporting facts-Gerardi was resting starters,why don't you just wait for the real playoff scenario to be announced.