Fans in Tampa, Boston and even Cleveland can begin to rejoice: Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig said at a Chicago White Sox fan festival that he expects the new wild card system, in which one playoff team is added for each league, to begin in 2012.
What does this mean for baseball? Well, it doesn't really come as a surprise to anyone that this is happening. It's already been approved by the players, so the question was merely whether it would happen in 2012 or 2013.
It does mean that fans could now see three teams come out of the highly-competitive American League East, although one of the two clubs would be eliminated after a one-game playoff.
However, it seems as though the new system isn't changing the mindset of many coaches.
Indians manager Manny Acta said in an interview with the Washington Post that the new system, while great for baseball, isn't going to change the way that his organization functions.
What this does do to baseball, though, is change the value of having an ace in the rotation. The two wild card teams will meet in a one-game playoff, meaning that the scenario could easily be ace vs. ace.
While most of the teams making the playoffs will probably have at least one very strong pitcher in their rotations, it'll be interesting to see if the new system leads fringe playoff teams to spending big on a marquee pitcher.
All in all, this system shouldn't change a lot about the postseason, though it will add two more games of highly-competitive baseball, which is great for every fan.
The decision should be officially made around March 1st.
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