We have been begging Major League Baseball to add a second Wild Card team for a long time. And now our wishes have come true. Yesterday, Bud Selig announced that the playoffs will expand to ten teams in 2012.
Under the new rules, each league will have the three division winners and two Wild Card teams. The two Wild Cards will meet, with the winner moving on to face one of the division winners in the next round. The only question that remains is whether the opening round will be a one-game playoff or a best-of-three format.
The beauty of this format is that it places the emphasis back on winning the division. Under the current system, there is little incentive for winning the division if the team is already guaranteed to be at least the Wild Card. But under the new format, especially if it is a one-game playoff, there is too much risk in leaving your fate up to an even shorter series, where just about anything can happen.
Of course, the new system also protects the Red Sox and Yankees. Because god forbid there ever be a third good team in the East that keeps one of the big two out of the playoffs.