NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The Major League Baseball playoff format is different this season, and it has the baseball world turned upside down.
10 teams in the postseason? Two one-game playoffs to determine who plays in the division series?
Many think the change is good for baseball and many think it’s detrimental — and just as many are unsure about what to make of it all.
Regardless of where you stand, one thing is for sure: The new format could hurt the teams with the best records, both on the field and in the pocket.
Take the Braves, for instance. In past seasons, Atlanta would have been assured a spot in the division series after winning the Wild Card. That would have meant at least two games at Turner Field, where the team could have cashed in on concessions, tickets, parking and all different sources of playoff revenue.
But now, under the new format, the Braves will play the second National League Wild Card team, the Cardinals, in a one-game playoff in Atlanta. The Braves won six more games than the Cardinals this season, and could end up going home after just one game. In past seasons, St. Louis wouldn’t even be sniffing the playoffs. They would already be on the golf course.
The same issue does not exist in the American League, however, as both the Orioles and Rangers — the two American League Wild Card teams — have identical 93-69 records, meaning that they would have met in a one-game playoff in past seasons regardless of the change.
As for the division series, the 2-2-1 schedule has been changed to a 2-3 format. In past seasons, the team with the better record would host the first two games before heading on the road for two more. Then, if necessary, a Game 5 would be held in the statistically superior team’s stadium. This season, the first two contests will be hosted by the team with the worse record, and the next three — if necessary — will be held in the opposing city.
What if the team with the better record loses both games on the road, where it will be very difficult to win? Not only will they be in a major hole in the series, but they could be facing a massive financial hit. If the better team gets swept in Game 3, they will have only hosted one playoff game in their stadium. In past seasons, they would have been assured two games in their home stadium.
The schedule for the championship series and the World Series will be the same as in past seasons, so the madness will end once the final four teams are vying for the title.
The division series will return to its normal 2-2-1 format in 2013. The one-year change was due to the fact that the 2012 regular season schedule was put into place before the new postseason format was established.
But how will it affect this postseason? Only time will tell, and it will all unfold beginning On Friday.
What do you think of the new MLB playoff format? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below…