It has seemed inevitable for a while now, but it was made official on Friday as Major League Baseball announced the addition two more Wild Card teams to the postseason schedule starting this October, bumping the total to 10 clubs making the playoffs this year.
Make the jump for more info.
Both the NL and AL will have a new wild card team, who will play the other wild card team in a one-game playoff. The winner will advance to play in the divisional series, which will be a bit different this year:
From the official press release:
For the 2012 Postseason only, the five-game Division Series will begin with two home games for lower seeds, followed by up to three home games for higher seeds. This one-year change will eliminate a travel day prior to a decisive Game Five of the Division Series and was necessary because the 2012 regular season schedule was announced before the agreement on the new Postseason was reached. Next year, the Division Series will return to the 2-2-1 format used in previous years. Details on the scheduling of the new elimination games between each League's Wild Cards will be announced in the near future.
As first reported by SB Nation's Amy Nelson, scheduling was a bit of a concern, but was eventually decided that this would be the best course of action. Still, there are some interesting scenarios popping up that could make it quite interesting down the stretch this season.
The wild-card winner, barring a tie-breaker to get in, will have off-day before the one-game playoff, and an off-day following playoff. #MLB— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) March 2, 2012
Hmmm...that seems a bit odd. But that's not the only oddity that has arisen...
Under new playoff format, teams from the same division will be able to play each other in the Division Series, Michael Weiner confirms.— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) March 2, 2012
Needless to say it's going to be an interesting season in baseball, with all kinds of possible twists and turns waiting in the wings. And whether you ilke these new playoffs or not, it's going to add a lot of drama late in the season.
For more on the new playoff format, head over to SB Nation's dedicated MLB hub.