Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig told reporters on Thursday, in his annual meeting with Associated Press Sports Editors, that baseball is considering adding two playoff teams as early as 2012. One wild card would be added to both the National and American Leagues, with the two wild card winners facing off in a new round of the playoffs. Per the Associated Press:
In the new format, the two wild cards in each league would meet, and the winners would advance to the following round against division winners.
"The more we've talked about it, I think we're moving inexorably to that," Selig said.
Discussions have taken place as part of collective bargaining for a labor deal to replace the one that expires in December. Players want to make sure the new format doesn't cause lengthy travel with little recovery time.
This is something that needs to be collectively bargained with the players' union, but it seems to have enough of a head of steam to be an inevitability. At 10 teams making the playoffs, MLB would still trail the number of playoff teams in the other three major sports. In the NBA and NHL, 16 of 30 teams qualify for the postseason, while 12 of 32 NFL teams make the playoffs.
The Wild Card has been in place since 1994, but really began in 1995 since the postseason was canceled in 1994. How would this new extra wild card have affected the Dodgers or Angels? The Angels would have been the second wild card in 1995 and 1997.
The Dodgers would have been the second wild card in both 2000 and 2002, and they would have tied with the Mets in 1997 for the second wild card spot. Just imagine, perhaps the Dodgers could have beaten the Mets in a play-in game in 1997, then defeated the Marlins in the wild card round, giving .362-batting, 40-homer hitting catcher Mike Piazza a national stage as a Dodger, followed by Piazza signing a contract extension and Chase Carey never thinks of trading him.