It was announced today that Major League Baseball will be adding a 2nd Wild Card team to the playoff system this season. That’s HUGE news. Especially in markets like Toronto.
Here’s how it breaks down (unless I’m totally misunderstanding everything) – the 3 division winners in each league continue to move to the play-offs as per usual. The best 2nd place team becomes the 1st Wild Card team AND the new wrinkle, the former Wild Card runner-up now becomes the 2nd Wild Card team.
This is the kind of thing that baseball fans in Toronto have been dreaming about for years. Hell, I’ve been writing about it for years and even proposed my own changes here on the blog on October 7, 2009 “Reviewing My Would Be Changes To The MLB Play-Offs”.
However, none of that matters now (other than the fact that my idea is still brilliant) as we are finally moving forward! Baseball isn’t the worst at change… but they certainly aren’t the best either. And this is change. And it could be the start of even more change!
Here’s what things would look like based on the 2011 end of season standings. The division winners are numbered 1, 2 and 3 based on record and the existing Wild Card team is marked as number 4. All 8 existing play-off teams are highlighted in yellow.
The new Wild Card team is marked with the number 5 and highlighted in red.
It goes like this. The new Wild Card teams (Boston and Atlanta) would play the existing Wild Card teams (Tampa and St. Louis) in a 1 GAME PLAY-OFF to see who moves on to the next round.
It means that the time is now to capitalize on young talent, an increasing budget and the energy and buzz that is surrounding the team.
If the play-offs weren’t already the “real” goal for the head office in 2012, they better be now. If they were waiting to make a move because it didn’t really make sense… it makes more sense now.
I know that by my own graphic and evidence the 2011 Blue Jays weren’t really close to being that 2nd Wild Card team… but we weren’t as far off as the Orioles, Padres, Marlins or Astros.
Spring Training is always a great time of optimism and hope for baseball fans. And now there is one more thing to be excited about.