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.