Thursday, November 17, 2011

Big Changes: Playoffs, Wild Cards and Astros

It was a big day for Major League Baseball news with the announcement of a re-alignment, more wild card teams and a new one game play off format.  Here is my understanding of the situation:
  • The Houston Astros sale has been approved and they will move to the AL West in 2013 creating an equal number of teams in the AL and NL.  The reasoning behind the move is geographical but also to create (or an attempt anyway) a divisional rivalry between the two Texas based teams.
  • Bud Selig has promised that two more Wild Card teams will be added to the current playoff format, one per league.  This means 10 teams make the playoffs, 5 per league.  There will be 3 division winners and two wild cards. 
  •  The Wild Card teams will face off in a one game elimination before meeting one of the division winners in a 5 game series.  The addition is supposed to reward division winners.
The other announcements are less firm.  There is talk of adding more inter-league games and balancing the schedule so that teams face each other an equal amount of times.  Some of the discussion surrounds inter-league games being played through out the season, not just in June/July as they are now.  

As a fan of the game, I like the changes.  The one game play off format for the Wild Card might need some tinkering though.  Is it really 'making the playoffs' if your team is out the next day?  

For fantasy owners/players, having more teams in the hunt for playoff spots is a good thing.  This means more star players will not be rested leading up to the post season.

There's nothing worse than having a strong showing all season to watch the Yankees rest all of their big name bats (which happen to be on your team) essentially screwing you down the stretch.

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