MILWAUKEE, WI: Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig gestures to the fans after throwing out the ceremonial first pitch during Game Five of the National League Division Series between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Arizona Diamondbacks at Miller Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
It's finally almost official: According to Commissioner Bud Selig, 2012 or '13 will see the addition of one Wild Card team in each league, with the Wild Cards meeting in one-game playoffs to open the postseason.
Thursday, Major League Baseball finally officially approved the sale of the Houston Astros to 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 favors 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 math, looked at history, and for every dramatic game we'll lose, we will gain another. Roughly speaking.
What's the best format for the new first round in the postseason?
One game, winner moves on, loser goes home (388 votes)
Best-of-three series (164 votes)
552 total votes