Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association concurred Thursday to extend the playoffs from 10 teams to 16 teams for the 2020 season, the sides declared.
“This season will be a sprint to a new format that will allow more fans to experience playoff baseball,” commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement announcing the expansion. “We look forward to a memorable Postseason concluding a year like no other.”
All second-place teams in the six divisions will presently qualify for the playoffs. The seventh and eighth playoff teams in each league will be determined by best record.
The first round of the playoffs, scheduled for Sept. 29-Oct. 2, will be four three-game series in each league with all games played at the higher seed’s home stadium. The rest of the rounds will be their customary length: The two division series in each league will be five-game series, while the American League and National League Championship Series and World Series will be seven-game series.
“We hope it will result in highly competitive pennant races as well as exciting additional playoff games to the benefit of the industry and all involved heading into next year,” MLBPA executive director Tony Clark said in the statement.
Thursday’s agreement likewise incorporated an amazement: Collection of the luxury tax will be suspended for the current year, an individual acquainted with the subtleties told The Associated Press, talking on state of secrecy in light of the fact that no declaration was made.
The playoff development plan had previously been part of MLB’s proposal to restart the season before the union finished talks and advised the league to singularly declare a schedule. The postseason last extended in 2012.
In each league, the division champs will be seeded 1-3, the second-place teams 4-6 and the teams with the next two best records 7-8. The first-round pairings will be 1 versus 8, 2-7, 3-6 and 4-5, Manfred said.
Tiebreaker games will be eliminated, with attaches broken by head-to-head record, followed by better record within a team’s division and record in the last 20 games within the division. On the off chance that there is as yet a tie, the standard would be last 21 games within a division, at that point 22, and so on.
Teams could complete the regular season with varying quantities of games played; regular-season delays will be made up at Manfred’s discretion.
ESPN was given the broadcast rights to seven of the eight first-round series, and TBS the rights to the next for no extra cash as a cosmetics for missed games. ESPN and TBS were to have part the two wild-card games in the original format.
Players will get a $50 million pool that will be circulated after each round and could increment if fans are permitted in stadiums for the postseason.
Sources revealed to ESPN a significant viewpoint for the players was player and family housing and access to the stadium during the playoffs.
The change implies 53% of the 30 teams will arrive at the playoffs. In the event that eight teams had qualified for the playoffs in each league from 1995 through 2019, 46 teams at or below .500 would have made it, as per research by the Elias Sports Bureau, an average of just under two for every season. Those teams would have included 25 from the AL.
There would have been just three seasons in which all playoff teams would have had winning records, Elias stated: 2000, 2003 and 2009.
The only time in the previous 10 seasons that eight teams in each league completed at or over .500 was in 2012, as indicated by ESPN Stats & Information research.