Major League Baseball May Feature A Do-Or-Die, One-Game Wild Card Playoff Soon

Bud Selig

Photo: Cork Gaines

Thursday, Major League Baseball finally officially approved the sale of the Houston Astrosto Jim Crane. Concomitant with that move, something else became official: in 2013, the Astros are moving to the American League West, with both leagues (finally) having 15 teams.But wait, there’s more:

Commissioner Bud Selig said owners also approved two additional wild-card teams for the postseason, meaning 10 of the 30 teams make the playoffs. Selig said the specifics are being worked out. The players’ association favours the move.

What’s more, Selig confirmed what has long been suspected: The postseason will begin with the two Wild Card teams in each league facing off in a one-game “series”, the loser going home. All this might happen in 2012, but perhaps not until 2013.

Some “people” are offended by the one-game, winner-take-all, sudden-death, lose-and-you-might-as-well-kill-yourself opening round of the postseason.

But consider the alternative.

A best-of-three series would a) add four or five days to the postseason schedule, pushing the World Series into November unless the regular season was seriously rejiggered, and b) perhaps more troubling, leave the six teams not playing in the first round would be left to rot for four or five days. Which nobody really wants.

Someone that most “people” do want: Divisional races that mean more. And this does that. Nobody’s going to want to play in that one-game playoff, which means two teams in a close race in late September will keep fighting, keep trying their best to win.

Yes, we’ll lose some late-season drama. That mind-blowing last day of the 2011 regular season? It would have have been largely irrelevant under this new postseason regime. But “people” have done the maths, looked at history, and for every dramatic game we’ll lose, we will gain another. Roughly speaking.

More on SB Nation:

  • Cy Young Preview: It’s Clayton Kershaw’s To Lose
  • Mets’ 51st Anniversary Jerseys Are Pleasing
  • Report: New MLB labour Deal Close At Hand
  • Justin Verlander Wins American League Cy Young Award


This post originally appeared on SB Nation.

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