2011 World Series Celebration(111523)
Credit: pasa47

The MLB playoff format has gone through a change this year. If you watch the playoffs, you might be scratching your head about what is going. Baseball is getting away from its traditions and looking towards the future. 

Old MLB Playoff Format

A total of eight teams would make the playoffs: 4 from the American League and 4 from the National League. The are three divisions in each League: East, Central and West. To reach the playoffs you either have to win your division or have the best record that did not win a division. Normally the team with the best record played against the wild card team unless they were in the same division. 

To be the World Series Champion, a team would have to first win a best of 5 games series, the Division Series. The next round is the League Championship Series, and it is a best of 7 games series. Ultimately, the two teams from each League winning their respective League Championship Series face off in the World Series. The winner of the best of 7 series wins the World Series and the glory. 

Essentially, this format put all the teams on an even playing field once they reached the playoffs. It didn't really matter if you squeaked in as a Wild card team or the team with the best record. 

New MLB Playoff Format

A new round is being added to the mix. Two wild card teams will now in a one game playoff and the winner gets to advance to the Division Series. Baseball consists of a 162 game season, and the thought of having your fate come down to 1 game is very exciting. Not everyone will agree with it, but there will be a lot of electricity surrounding these games. 

The other rule change is the division winner with the best record will play the wild card team, even if they are in the same division. This now presents a strategic advantage to teams winning their divisions, and especially the best with the best record in the league. They will be playing a team that likely had to use their best pitching because they had to win at all costs in a one game playoff. 

From here on out it is the same as in previous years. Two teams from each League will advance to the League Championship, and then two teams square off in the World Series. 

Enjoy the MLB Playoffs

You know the MLB Playoff Format, so go out there and enjoy some baseball. Enjoy a game live in person or on TV. Kick back, have some ball park food and drinks!