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MLB makes the expanded playoffs official for 2012

Mar 2, 2012, 2:23 PM EDT

2011 World Series Game 3 -Texas Rangers v St Louis Cardinals Getty Images

Just got the press release. It’s official: expanded playoffs for 2012.

The 2012 Postseason will feature a 10-team format that includes two additional Wild Card Clubs and an elimination game in each League prior to the Division Series, Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig announced today … a single Postseason game would be played between each League’s two Wild Card Clubs, with each winner advancing to compete among the three division champions from each League in the Division Series.

And what we learned this morning — that a division winner will open on the road against the winner of the wild card playoff — is official:

For the 2012 Postseason only, the five-game Division Series will begin with two home games for lower seeds, followed by up to three home games for higher seeds.  This one-year change will eliminate a travel day prior to a decisive Game Five of the Division Series and was necessary because the 2012 regular season schedule was announced before the agreement on the new Postseason was reached.  Next year, the Division Series will return to the 2-2-1 format used in previous years.

All that has been said about this has basically been said: winning the division instead of the wild card is incentivized. More money is made by all.  It’s pretty much what everyone inside the game wants.

Outside the game? A lot of us hate this kind of change.  But being realistic, a lot of us hated the original implementation of the wild card too, and we got over it.  There is no going backwards in baseball.  This sort of thing is inevitable.

  1. sdelmonte - Mar 2, 2012 at 2:39 PM

    Another wild card! The Mets chances to make the playoffs just improved!

    OK, so did everyone else’s. But I take my straws for grasping where I can.

    (Yes, I know. The chances for the Mets to blow a lead and miss the playoffs just improved, too.)

    • Baseball Beer Burritos In That Order - Mar 2, 2012 at 3:25 PM

      I play a drinking game where I take a drink every time I feel a bit of hope about the Mets’ chances. The game is called alcoholism, and it is ruining my life.

    • florida727 - Mar 3, 2012 at 7:28 AM

      Amen and Praise the Lord! Baseball’s season isn’t long enough. Thank God they decided to expand it even further. Pretty sure Game 7 of the World Series will now officially be SNOWED OUT. This makes the regular season even less relevant than ever before. Any one game means NOTHING. Oh well. The money grab continues. Got to find someway to pay those ridiculous salaries I suppose.

      • puppykicker - Mar 3, 2012 at 1:11 PM

        i hate when people say the regular season is irrelevant. the regular season will always be relevant to me, because i love baseball and will take all i can get.

  2. joebolt33 - Mar 2, 2012 at 2:41 PM

    I love it. I know it’s different, but at least baseball is trying to make itself better. These one game playoffs are going to be absolutely crazy exciting.

  3. jasonc2300 - Mar 2, 2012 at 2:41 PM

    I love how baseball works. Back in the day, the 104-win Braves hold off the 103-win Giants, and baseball says, “Wow! That was exciting! Let’s make sure that never happens again!” Then last year, the ridiculous last day of the season happens, scribes and fans everywhere immediately anoint it the greatest day of baseball ever, and baseball again says, “Wow! That was exciting! Let’s make sure that never happens again!”

    • joebolt33 - Mar 2, 2012 at 2:43 PM

      Disagree. Now it happens EVERY year.

      • bh0673 - Mar 2, 2012 at 2:58 PM

        Or does it? Last year there were 4 teams with a chance to win the wildcard. And those 4 teams seasons Tampa, Atlanta, St Louis and Boston went down to the wire. Expanding the wild card doesn’t automatically guarantee a great end to the season like last year. Now those teams can coast in because so no it doesn’t replicate last year.

      • pmcenroe - Mar 2, 2012 at 3:07 PM

        I dont think he saying every year you will have a great finsish rather you are gauranteed two winner take all games, as there isn’t always a game 7 (or 5 in DS cases). Also this past year was such an anomaly why do people keep bringing it up as an example?

      • joebolt33 - Mar 2, 2012 at 3:09 PM

        I see your point, but last year was once in a lfetime. This system still allows for the same fight to the last spot when the stars align while adding the excitement of a win and in game every year.

      • bh0673 - Mar 2, 2012 at 6:11 PM

        We will see, I could be wrong but I don’t think it will do as much as everyone thinks it will. The last few years we have seen some tight finishes with one game playoffs which have been exciting but whether this really adds that much to the game remains to be seen. Since 1995 there have been 6 one game playoffs, 10 wildcard teams to make the World Series and only 4 who have won, will there really be that much of an added dimension I just don’t buy it. If you really want to make the game better go back to the balanced schedule then let the best teams make it to the post season on an even basis.

  4. skeleteeth - Mar 2, 2012 at 2:41 PM

    None of which I will be able to watch with my $120 subscription.

    • pmcenroe - Mar 2, 2012 at 3:10 PM

      Are you sure? I though MLB.TV “premimum” now has all national broadcasts..

      • skeleteeth - Mar 2, 2012 at 3:32 PM

        No playoffs.

  5. psousa1 - Mar 2, 2012 at 2:57 PM

    It is good. There are far two many teams to have that few qualify for the post season. Not that I want it to be the NBA but having one more is great. This will also keep teams from tanking. We’ve seen Boston and NY in the AL both go into the tank after they had clinched a post season berth so they could get the match up they want or to set up their rotation. Now with a one game knockout nobody would be dumb enough to take that chance. They will want to win that division. Under the present wild card there really is no disadvantage as being the wild card team except you start out on the road. Big deal. This isn’t football where home field can be huge for one game (see: Denver vs. Pittsburgh wild card) or a series like hockey where home ice makes a huge impact. In Baseball the better team always wins a 7 game series no matter who has home field.

  6. dohpey28 - Mar 2, 2012 at 3:03 PM

    I know it’s only for 1 year but it is a dumb format. Why not play game 2 as a day game and game 3 as a night game the next night, then have a day off going back to game 5?

  7. AlohaMrHand - Mar 2, 2012 at 3:03 PM

    And what will be the end result?The Pirates and Royals STILL won’t make the playoffs.

  8. thefalcon123 - Mar 2, 2012 at 3:09 PM

    ” But being realistic, a lot of us hated the original implementation of the wild card too, and we got over it”

    Nope, I still think it sucks.

    Baseball will still be awesome even if every team goes to the playoffs and the entire season is done in a weird round-robin tournament in which the losing teams are publicly beaten. It doesn’t mean I can’t hate the format of it a whole hell of a lot.

  9. holleywood9 - Mar 2, 2012 at 3:34 PM

    Everyone who thinks this sucks and is unfair will surely change their mind when their team makes the playoffs because of it. Or they win the division and don’t have to face the number one till later in the series because of it.
    One reason people love football so much is the playoffs get a huge turnover every year. This will help in baseball as more teams are still within reach with 20 games left.

    • ezthinking - Mar 2, 2012 at 4:11 PM

      Except last year when Tampa and Boston would not have been playing for anything on the last day, or even the last week and Atlanta and St. Louis would not have been playing for anything that last week either. 5th place to 6th place, Al 4 games NL 3 games.

      So Game 162 last year would have meant nothing.

      This system sooner or later will produce a 85 win 5th seed with one great/lucky starter knocking out a 95 win 4th seed and the divisional(?) series will suffer.

      • psousa1 - Mar 2, 2012 at 4:48 PM

        I don’t think so. I’m sure many of those mid 80 win type of teams throw it in when the wild card winner’s magic number is one and they might be 5 back. You’ll get more teams playing all out and not using Triple A lineups the last 2 weeks of the season. It can be a little gimmicky because sometimes the wild card is better than two of the other division winners and they could get knocked out of the one game playoff. In a 7 game series the best team usually wins. In a one game playoff anyone can win. But, I like it. People will be going nuts if the second seed wild card beats the first seed wild card who may have more wins than one or two of the other division winners, Bob Costas will be curled up in a fetal position and the BBWA will screaming that this is worse than any atrocity ever comitted anywhere in history of civilization.

    • realgone2 - Mar 3, 2012 at 12:21 AM

      Wrong. I’m a huge Braves fan. They didn’t deserve to make the playoffs last year. I’d be embarrassed to have my team be the 2nd wild card.

  10. nofunleague - Mar 2, 2012 at 4:07 PM

    The World Series games will be played in the snow. If you can’t make the top 8 you don’t belong there.
    It’s just more money for the league out of the fans pockets. When will you clowns realize this. Baseball does nothing for the fans, only for the players and owners.

  11. 06mustang - Mar 2, 2012 at 4:29 PM

    Then don’t follow or watch you putz

    • nofunleague - Mar 3, 2012 at 9:39 AM

      I follow the news not Baseball. Gave up on that years ago. And who are you to call me a puts you ahole. I’ll post what I want when I want. Now back to your room.

  12. stanmrak - Mar 2, 2012 at 4:59 PM

    Another reason not to bother watching the regular season. That goes for NFL, NHL, NBA, every team sport except college football. The regular season has become the pre-season.

  13. sanzarq - Mar 2, 2012 at 5:28 PM


  14. sasquash20 - Mar 2, 2012 at 5:44 PM

    Why play 162 games? This is just retarded. If you want to add games add 2 games to the division series. The 5 game series is also dumb. Also having the better regular season team open on the road is retarded too. None of this makes sense at all. And if your adding teams having it come to one game is lame too. Baseball just wants the AL East and the AL East rating to get another team in there.

  15. spudatx - Mar 2, 2012 at 5:46 PM

    Another strike against any team slinking in after forcing a 163rd game…

  16. foreverchipper10 - Mar 2, 2012 at 6:06 PM

    Craig, I got a question

    By past rules the wild card winning team would play the team with the best record so long as they were not in the same division. Under this current format will that also be the case? What if the two wild card teams are from the same division? Say the Phils, Braves and Marlins make it. The two wild card teams will play each other but then can the winner of that one game playoff (who now starts at home field for this year only) play a division opponent in the second (?) round? If that is the case then the teams would not know who they were playing in the second (?) round until the one-game playoff has been played which does not save travel at all.

  17. randygnyc - Mar 2, 2012 at 6:48 PM

    I am no purist. I don’t even care that some extra team full of below average scrubs is gonna make the playoffs now. What I cant stand is the one game playoff. Why make a full 162 game season boil down to a game often decided by fluke plays, bad officiating, weather and bad luck. I always believed the goal was to see the best 2 teams in the world series. We’ve seen that decrease since the wild card. Now they’re practically guaranteeing it won’t happen.

  18. hansgruber - Mar 2, 2012 at 7:03 PM

    I wish the additional one-game playoffs were reserved for the two teams with the worst records, not necessarily wild-card teams. If a team wins a weak division by playing .500 ball, I don’t see why they get a better position that a wild card team with a better record in a strong division.

  19. mplsjoe - Mar 2, 2012 at 8:33 PM

    Worst. Thing. Ever.

  20. buffalomafia - Mar 2, 2012 at 10:54 PM

    Like I said shorten season!

    Wildcard best of 3

    Division playoff best if 5

    ACLS & NCLS best of 7

    World Series best of 7

    Fire Bud Selig!!!!!

  21. realgone2 - Mar 3, 2012 at 12:17 AM

    Can these playoffs have twist endings like Tales from the Darkside? Might draw more cash!

  22. nofunleague - Mar 3, 2012 at 9:41 AM

    Ditch the inter-league play and shorten the season. All of the other games mean nothing now.

  23. dasher521 - Mar 3, 2012 at 10:01 AM

    There should only be a single off day between series. The teams that make the playoffs have played 162 games using a 5 man rotation. With all of the off days the ‘rules’ of the game change. The team with the best 3 man staff has the advantage. Get rid of interleague play and shorten the season, so the chances of playoffs being held in cold weather are lessened.

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