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Unraveling the Exciting MLB Postseason Structure

MLB Postseason Structure

Postseason baseball is the most exciting time of the year for baseball fans, as the best teams in the game compete for the ultimate prize, the

World Series trophy. In this article, we will take a deep dive into the MLB postseason structure, including the various playoff rounds, wild card games, and changes to the format due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Permanent Playoff Structure

The current MLB postseason structure features 10 teams, with varying lengths of playoff rounds. This structure was first introduced in 2012, with the addition of the

Wild Card Game.

The playoffs begin with a single-elimination

Wild Card Game, which is played between the top two non-division winners in each league. The winner of this game advances to the

Division Series, which is the first full round of the playoffs.


Division Series features two best-of-five series in each league, with the winners advancing to the

League Championship Series (LCS). The LCS is the final round before the

World Series and features the two remaining teams in each league. The LCS is also a best-of-seven series, with the team that had a better regular season record having home-field advantage.

The winners of the LCS advance to the

World Series.

World Series


World Series is the ultimate goal for every team in the playoffs. It is a best-of-seven series between the winners of the American

League Championship Series (ALCS) and the National

League Championship Series (NLCS).

The team with the best regular season record has home-field advantage in the

World Series. The first team to win four games in the series becomes the

World Series champion. Historically, the

World Series has seen some of the greatest moments in baseball history and remains the biggest stage for players to showcase their talent.

Possible Changes to Postseason Format

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the MLB postseason has undergone some significant changes. In 2020, the postseason was expanded to include 16 teams, with the addition of a Wild Card Series played over the course of three games.

This format was widely praised for increasing the number of teams in the playoffs and giving more fans a chance to see their team compete. For 2021, the postseason format has returned to the normal 10-team structure, but there has been a proposal to permanently expand the playoffs to 12, 14, or 16 teams.

Wild Card Game


Wild Card Game was first introduced in 2012 and has become a staple of the MLB postseason ever since. The

Wild Card Game is a single-elimination game played between the top two non-division winners in each league.

The game is typically played on the Tuesday or Wednesday following the end of the regular season, just a day or two before the

Division Series begins. Prior to the addition of the

Wild Card Game, the postseason featured one wild card team from each league, which was simply the team with the best record that did not win its division.

This created a situation where teams with similar records competed for the wild card spot, leading to a lot of tension and excitement in the final days of the regular season. After the addition of the

Wild Card Game, teams began to place a greater emphasis on winning their division, as the

Wild Card Game created an extra hurdle to reach the LCS.

This has led to some intriguing scenarios, such as the 2018 season when the Oakland Athletics won 97 games but had to play in the

Wild Card Game due to the dominance of the Houston Astros in the American League West. Since 2012, four

Wild Card Game winners have made it to the

World Series, with the San Francisco Giants winning it all in 2014 as a Wild Card team. This success has shown that anything is possible in the MLB postseason, and that every team has a chance to make a deep playoff run.

Emphasis on Division Champions

Despite the excitement generated by the

Wild Card Game, the MLB places a great emphasis on division champions. The six division champions are given a first-round bye in the playoffs, and home-field advantage is awarded to the team with the better record in each playoff series.

This creates a great incentive for teams to win their division, as it can give them a critical edge in the playoffs. In conclusion, the MLB postseason structure is a thrilling and dynamic system that has captivated baseball fans for decades.

With the addition of the

Wild Card Game in 2012 and the possible expansion of the playoffs in the coming years, the postseason is sure to remain a cornerstone of the sport for years to come.

Division Series


Division Series is a critical round in the MLB postseason, where the best teams in the league fight for the chance to advance to the

League Championship Series. In this article, we will delve deeper into the

Division Series, including its history, previous formats, and importance of home-field advantage.and History


Division Series was introduced in 1995 after the MLB restructured the league into three divisions in both the American League and National League.

Prior to this, the last time a playoff round was added was in 1981, following a players’ strike that led to the regular season being split into two halves. This forced the league to create a

Division Series playoff round, which was won by the Los Angeles Dodgers.


Division Series became a permanent part of the MLB postseason in 1995, with pre-arranged seeding in the first three seasons. However, in 1998, the playoff format was changed to seed teams based on their regular season record.

This means that the top team in each division plays the lowest wild card team, with the second and third division winners also facing off in the

Division Series. In this new format, the team with the better record is awarded with three home games in the best-of-five series.

The 2-3 format was also changed to a 2-2-1 format in the

Division Series.

Importance of Home-Field Advantage

Home-field advantage in the

Division Series is critical since it can give a significant edge to the team that has the better record, and therefore, more home games. With home-field advantage, teams have the luxury of playing in front of their fans, who can provide a much-need boost in critical moments.

Moreover, teams typically perform better at home, which is why they are more inclined to obtain the better record throughout the regular season. In the past, there have been cases where home-field advantage has made a big impact in the

Division Series.

For instance, in the 2005

Division Series, the Chicago White Sox swept the Boston Red Sox with the help of home-field advantage. The White Sox won all three games at home, taking the series comfortably without losing a single game in Boston.

As such, home-field advantage can make all the difference in a team’s quest to advance to the LCS.

League Championship Series


League Championship Series is a best-of-seven series that takes place after the

Division Series and determines which teams move on to the

World Series. The series features the best teams in each league, as they compete for the William Harridge Trophy (American League) and the Warren Giles Trophy (National League).and History


League Championship Series was introduced in 1969 due to the expansion of the MLB to 24 teams and the adoption of two divisions in each league.

The LCS determines the league champion in each of the American and National Leagues and has since become an integral part of the MLB postseason.

Previous Format and Changes

The LCS features a best-of-seven format that has faced several changes over the years. Before 1985, the LCS was a best-of-five series played in a 2-3 format.

The home-field advantage in this format alternated between the divisions. However, in 1985, the LCS changed to a best-of-seven series played in a 2-3-2 format.

In this format, the team with the better record received home-field advantage in both the LCS and the

World Series. This format change has created a significant impact on the way teams approach the LCS.

Since the team with home-field advantage gets three straight games at home, they have ample opportunities to seize control of the series. Additionally, the LCS now offers teams with the better record a significant edge by awarding them home-field advantage throughout.

Awarding of Trophies


League Championship Series is not only significant for determining the league champion but also for the presentation of the William Harridge and Warren Giles Trophies. The Harridge Trophy is awarded to the American League champion while the Giles Trophy is awarded to the National League champion.

These trophies are symbolic of the Championship Series and hence, holds significant value for both the team and the league.


In conclusion, the

Division Series and

League Championship Series are critical playoff rounds that determine which teams move on to the

World Series. The

Division Series was introduced in 1995, while the LCS was first played in 1969.

Both the

Division Series and LCS have undergone changes in format over the years, with the current format of the LCS featuring a 2-3-2 format. Home-field advantage plays a significant role in both playoff rounds, with the team with the better record receiving the most significant advantage.

The William Harridge Trophy and Warren Giles Trophy are highly coveted and hold significant value for both the team and the league.

World Series


World Series is the most iconic and prestigious event in baseball. It is the ultimate championship series that pits the winners of the American League and National League against each other.

This article will look at the history and evolution of the

World Series, including the introduction of the Commissioner’s Trophy and changes made to the format over the years.and History


World Series was first introduced in 1903 as a resolution to resolve a professional baseball war between two warring leagues. At the time, the National League and the American League were separate and independent entities, with no real championship series in place.

However, in 1903, the two leagues decided to come together in a so-called “modern” baseball league for the good of the game, creating a permanent fixture called the

World Series.

Formation of Modern League

The formation of the modern league in 1903 was seen as a turning point for professional baseball. It saw the creation of two separate but cooperating leagues that worked together for the good of the game.

The winners of each league would play each other in the

World Series and be crowned the champions of professional baseball. This format has remained largely unchanged over the years, with the

World Series being the ultimate prize for every team in the league.

Pre-1925 Format and Shift to Modern 2-3-2 Format

The format of the

World Series has undergone several changes over the years. For instance, the pre-1925 format only allowed home games to be scheduled for the first six games of the series, and the location of the seventh game was determined by a coin flip.

However, in 1925, the format was changed to the modern-day 2-3-2 arrangement, where the team with home-field advantage had the first two games and the next three games went to the visiting team. The last two games were then played at the home field of the team with the home-field advantage.

Commissioner’s Trophy

In 1967, the Commissioner’s Trophy was introduced as a reward for the winners of the

World Series. Initially, it was known as the Commissioner’s Award but was later changed to the Commissioner’s Trophy in 1985.

The trophy is made of sterling silver and features 30 flags, one for each team in the league. The winner of the

World Series is presented with the trophy immediately following their victory, symbolizing the ultimate achievement in professional baseball.

Possible Changes to Postseason Format

Major League Baseball is considering changes to the postseason format that could permanently alter how the

World Series is played. One possible reform involves expanding the playoffs from the current format of 10 teams to 12, 14, or even 16 teams.

This proposal is the brainchild of the current MLB commissioner, Rob Manfred.

16 Teams Format and Impact on TV Revenues

In 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, MLB expanded the postseason to include 16 teams. This format allowed more teams to make the playoffs and created additional revenue streams for the league’s TV partners.

Despite fan criticisms of the format, ratings were stable, and the league continues to evaluate ways to expand its postseason revenue streams. TV partners continue to play a significant role in postseason format decisions due to the massive amounts of revenue generated from the games.

Fans and Media Outlets’ Opposition to Playoff Expansion

There has been opposition from fans and media outlets to the proposal of expanding the playoffs. The primary concern about expanding the playoffs is that more mediocre teams could make it to the postseason, thereby reducing the overall competitiveness of the league.

Fans and journalists have pointed out that an expanded playoffs format could effectively create an over-reliance on TV revenue and take away from the traditional authenticity of playoff baseball.


In conclusion, the

World Series is and will continue to be the ultimate prize for every team in professional baseball. It symbolizes the historic and passionate rivalry between the American and National leagues while also epitomizing the quest for true greatness in the game.

Despite the

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