By Matt Snyder
There is "momentum" for Major League Baseball to expand the playoffs to include 10 teams, five from each league, beginning in 2012, CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman has learned. Nothing is finalized but a deal is "extremely likely" and expected to be done soon. A Fox Sports report says the deal is a "go," also saying that a deal is close but not finalized.
Michael Weiner, head of the players' association, told CBSSports.com's Scott Miller that a decision is expected by Thursday.
The new playoff format is expansion in the number of teams, but it also puts more emphasis on the regular season, in terms of winning the division. With this new format, the two wild cards will play a one-game playoff. The winner will then have to turn around -- possibly after having to use their ace -- and play the team with the best regular-season record in the LDS.
This new format should appease most clubs. The titans will be happy that a wild card can't slip in on equal footing (see the Phillies vs. Cardinals series last season) and clubs in loaded divisions like the AL East and NL East now have a better shot at getting into the one-game wild card round.
One argument some seem to have against the new format is that if this format was in place last season, the magical last day of the season wouldn't have happened. True, but we fawned all over that night because it was one in a million. Most seasons, we aren't going to get anything close to that drama in Game 162. But now, in the new format, we get two head-to-head, do-or-die games the day after the regular season ends.
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