Title says it all. Here's ESPN's write-up on it. If you've been paying attention to baseball at all, you saw this coming. The new format adds a one-game playoff between the two best non-division-winning teams. Which means, had this format been in place last year, the Red Sox would have played the Rays and the Braves would have played the Cards, with the winner of each game going on to play the respective #1 teams in their leagues.
Here's what The Bud had to say:
"This change increases the rewards of a division championship and allows two additional markets to experience playoff baseball each year," Commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement.
I mean, I guess so, if one extra game means "playoff baseball" to you. I don't know how I feel about this. On one hand, what does 1 game prove? Not much. Plus, the winner of that game is at a disadvantage since they definitely would not be able to pitch their ace more than once in the divisinoal series. And, depending on the amount of time between this wild card and the LDS, that ace could potentially be pitching for the first time in an elimination game (assuming that he wouldn't be ready to go until game 3). So that creates a competitive inbalance, in my mind.
On the other hand, the last day of the regular season last year was incredible. Both the Rays and Braves were playing for their lives and it led to really compelling and dramatic games. I know I stayed up late to watch those games, and I don't care about either team. So maybe they're trying to establish that sort of excitement on an annual basis. Also, since they had already set the playoff schedule for 2012, adding an entire series for this year could not have worked logistically. So maybe they turn this into a best 3-of-5 series down the road.
What say the rest of you?