Baseball expands playoffs for 2012

2:58 PM, Mar 2, 2012   |    comments
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New York, NY (Sports Network) - Major League Baseball has decided to expand the playoff format for the upcoming season, adding one wild card team for each league.

The two wild card teams from each league will take part in a one-game playoff to determine which team advances to the Division Series.

It's the first change to MLB's postseason since the six-division, eight-team format was adopted for the 1995 season.

The new 10-team playoff format was included in the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement, which was announced in November. If the union and owners could not work out details for this year, the new format would have gone into effect in 2013.

"I greatly appreciate the MLBPA's cooperation in putting the new postseason format in place this year," said baseball commissioner Bud Selig in a statement. "The enthusiasm for the 10-team structure among our clubs, fans and partners has been overwhelming. This change increases the rewards of a division championship and allows two additional markets to experience playoff baseball each year, all while maintaining the most exclusive postseason in professional sports."

Details on the scheduling of the one-game playoff will be determined at a later date. However, the Division Series will have a change in format for the 2012 season only.

Because the 2012 schedule had already been announced, the best-of-five Division Series will eliminate a second travel day and will revert back to the original format of two home games for the lower-seeded team followed by three games for the higher-seeded team. The 2013 Division Series will again feature a 2-2-1 games format.

"The players are eager to begin playing under this new format in 2012 and they look forward to moving to full realignment in 2013," said union chief Michael Weiner in MLB's statement. "Our negotiating committee and the owners' representatives worked hard to develop a schedule that should make for fairer competition and provide our fans with a very exciting season."

The 2013 season will also feature the Houston Astros' move to the American League West to form two 15-team leagues.

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