Celebrate Good Times, C’mon!

If you can remember all the way back to 2011, you might recall that as part of the new collective bargaining agreement with its players association, Major League Baseball will expand its playoff structure to not one, but two Wild Card teams. When such an exciting possibility was first announced, it wasn’t known how quickly the policy shift would be introduced. In fact, the only definitive part of the original announcement was that something would be decided by March 1st.

As you can see above, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports informs us that the extra playoff spot is a “go” for the coming season.

For the sake of clarity, the new system would give playoff berths to not only the three division winners, but also the winner of a one game playoff between the two next best teams.

What I don’t like about this system is that it places the teams with the two best records after the division winners on equal footing. If we’re talking in terms of ensuring that the best teams make it to the playoffs under a three division format, then one Wild Card makes perfect sense.

If we look at the final standings of past seasons, more often than not the Wild Card winner finished with a better record than at least one of the division winners. The next best team rarely does this. When the Wild Card winner comes from a division like the AL East, it means that despite a tougher schedule they likely managed to play better than one of the other two division winners throughout the season. A second Wild Card winner, didn’t do this.

What I do like about the new system is that it does give an extra day or two of rest to the teams that won their divisions and puts an added importance to doing so. I like that the regular season gets more respect under this system, but at the same time, the potential existed to do away with the strange three division set up and compete under a more fair and balanced schedule. If that were the case, I could fully embrace giving division winners an advantage.

For the record, the regular season is scheduled to conclude on October 3rd this year, with the playoffs set to begin shortly after.

Comments (10)

  1. Operation 3rd place is a go!!!!!

  2. While I like Toronto’s increased odds of making the post-season, I hate to think it could all go end in a single-game playoff.

    I have nightmares of ending up taking the “traditional” wild card only to lose a one-game playoff to a team finishing 5 games back… memories of the switch from best of 5 to best of 7 in time for the 1985 ALCS anyone?

  3. I don’t think this changes much for the Jays for the next few years, with the Angels and Rangers in the West, the jays still have to finish 2nd in the east.

  4. I don’t see how an additional wild card berth is going to change much for the Blue Jays. They still have to beat one of the Yankees, Red Sox and Rays.

    • Beating one is a lot easier than beating two.

    • Well, it will take fewer wins to get in the playoffs now. Probably 90ish instead of 95ish.

      Still going to be extremely hard, but it’s potentially huge for the Jays. Could have a nice effect on the fanbase too, if the Jays play some meaningful late season games for the first time in forever.

  5. Math wasn’t a strong subject for me in school. Meant to say two of the Yankees, Rays or Red Sox. Conceivably, the AL East could produce 3 post-season teams, but not 4.

  6. The addition of a wild card spot is completely cancelled out by the vast improvements the rangers and angels have made. We stand the same chance of making the playoffs as we did before, slim to none.

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