Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig announced on Thursday that the league will add two more wild card teams to the playoffs no later than 2013.
The announcement comes after the owners association unanimously approved Jim Crane as the new owner of the Houston Astro’s. Under his ownership the team will move over to the American League after 2012, thereby creating two 15-team leagues.
Selig has not yet offered specifics about the new format but it’s believed that a “one-game” playoff among wild-card teams will be used in each league to make the playoffs more “dramatic.”
There’s still a possibility that the playoff spots could be created in 2012 but the deal only guarantees such a system by 2013.
To mitigate the possible ratings downfall the Astro’s will receive from local TV the league has agreed to refund Crane $70 million of his $660 million purchase price.
Joking about the switch to a different league Crane told reported:
“I was in the air freight business,” and “I’ve always flown a lot … we’ll be flying a lot.”
Under the new format there will now be six divisions with five teams each, leveling out the playing field for the AL and NL.
Unfortunately for the Boston Red Sox the move wasn’t put into place as the team witnessed a historical collapse at the end of the 2010-2011 season. The Tampa Bay Rays would have also made the cut under the new wild card system.
Washington Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said of the plan:
“When we first went to a wild-card, I was skeptical. It’s become so wildly successful, I think this will be equally as successful. All of the baseball guys are for it.”
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