Two New Wild Cards Added for 2012
Bob Nightengale of USA Today has some preliminary information about the decision to expand the playoffs for this season.
The expanded format was approved for 2013 in November, but Commissioner Bud Selig strongly pushed for the extra wild-card round to begin this year. The difficulty was trying to squeeze in the one-game, wild-card round playoff game, with the regular-season and World Series schedules already finalized.
It will be MLB’s first playoff expansion since 1995, adding a second wild-card team from each league. The winner of the one-game playoff between the two wild-card entrants will face the team with the league’s best record in the Division Series. The expansion is designed in part to place a greater reward to the six division winners. The St. Louis Cardinals were the fifth wild-card team to win the World Series since 1997, while 10 wild-card teams have won pennants. Division winners will avoid the one-game playoff in the new format.