It’s going to happen, it seems.
According to bow tie man Ken Rosenthal, baseball will announce – as early as tomorrow – the addition of two Wild Card teams for the 2012 season. The plan, which was unveiled last fall, will add a second Wild Card team to each league. The two WC teams will then square off in a one-game playoff, with the winner presumably going on to face the team with the best record in their respective league. And, yes, we believe the Wild Card teams can come from the same division. Somewhere, Nats manager Davey Johnson jumps for joy.
It certainly adds incentive to win your division– at least when taken at face value. But when you consider that, for the best teams, this could cause an even lengthier delay between playing meaningful baseball and the first game of the Division Series, you can’t help but wonder if the layoff will do more harm than good for teams that won 10 extra games in the regular season.
In November I ticked off a number of scenarios from recent years in which one-game Wild Card matchups would have been between teams finishing as many as seven games apart, and that’s hardly fair. Why not just lengthen the Division Series to seven games, making it harder for Wild Card teams – like, say, the Cardinals – to beat teams that finished 12 games ahead – like, say, the Phillies – in the regular season? I'm still bitter.
More from Rosenthal:
The schedule for this season already was set when the new CBA was reached, but adjustments might be required to squeeze in the new wild-card round.
The final details are not known, but officials discussed changing starting times for the final day of the regular season, the one-game wild-card knockout and possibly Game 1 of the Division Series.