The wild card is the last place team in each league. They will get a playoff spot. The rest of the teams in the league with the most regular season wins will not. To qualify for the playoffs, the wild card team must win at least one game against a team that is in that league’s second division or if the wild card team is not in the second division, they would have to win at least one game against another wild card team.
Why Did the Wild Card Begin in 1995?
If you looked at the teams in the American League, the Yankees, Twins, White Sox, the Orioles, Mariners and Red Sox were the only teams that were still in contention for the ALCS, and even these teams did not have a lot of depth on the bench.
The first expansion allowed wild card teams to play against the team with the best record in their division, which resulted in the San Francisco Giants and Chicago Cubs fighting over the best record in the NL and the St. Louis Cardinals and San Diego Padres for the best record in the AL. From then on, the wild card teams were allowed to play against any team in the league, not just the best in their own division.
The Expansion of Two Wild Cards per League in 2012
In 2012, the National League instituted a rule that allows a wild card team to play a one-game playoff against the team with the second wild card in the other league. The wild card teams had equal chances to win the game. A tiebreaker rule was later included in the rules of this game.
What about the 2020 October Classic?
The expanded playoffs started out okay, as the new postseason format worked out, but there were several problems early on as players were used in more meaningful games in the October season than they were in the previous season. The extra postseason games led to an overwhelming schedule and made it very difficult to juggle postseason and regular season games for the players.
What Makes the Wild Card So Interesting?
Has Any Team won the World Series as a Wild Card Winner?
San Francisco won the World Series from the AL Wild Card in 2012 and 2014 and Oakland won the World Series from the NL Wild Card in 2016.
What Baseball Teams Got to the World Series as a Wild Card and Lost?
Since the end of the year, five teams have gone to the World Series and lost. Five teams have gone to the World Series in the past four years.
Major League Baseball has added an exciting twist to the long 162 game season of baseball. Before 1995, most teams would give up during the trade deadline because the MLB magic number to win their division wouldn’t happen. Now with the expansion of two wild cards in the AL and NL, more teams have a chance to make the playoffs. MLB fans can experience the playoffs like never before with the exciting tie-breaker game now in the mix.
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