The Major League Baseball postseason is anelimination tournament held after the conclusion of the MLB regular season.
As of 2012, theplayoffs for each league—American and National—consist of: a one-game wild-card playoff between twowild card teams; two best-of-five Division Series featuring the wild-card winner andthe winner of each division; and finally the best-of-seven League Championship Series.
The winners of the American League Championship Series and the National League ChampionshipSeries face each other in the best-of-seven World Series.
Format historyBefore 1969: One round Major League Baseball is the oldest of America'smajor professional sports organizations, with roots dating back to the 1870s.
As such, itis steeped in tradition.
The final series to determine its champion has been calledthe "World Series" as far back as the National League's contests with the American Associationstarting at the beginning of the 1880s.
In 1903, the two modern Major League Baseballleagues began annual postseason play with a one-round system in which the American Leagueteam with the best record faced the National League team with the best record in a best-of-sevenseries called the World Series; however, there was no 1904 Series because the National LeagueChampion, the New York Giants, refused to play.
This single-tiered approach persistedthrough 1968, even with the expansions of 1961-1962 that expanded both leagues to 10teams.
1969–1993: Two roundsIn 1969, both leagues expanded to twelve teams, which made it more difficult to compete fora league championship because there were more teams competing for the AL and NL pennants.
In addition, teams would play other clubs in their own division more than clubs in theother division, creating an unbalanced schedule that in some years could give a team fromone division an advantage in fighting for a single pennant.
To remedy this, and imitatingthe other major sports' long-standing playoff traditions, Major League Baseball split eachleague into Eastern and Western divisions, creating four divisions overall and no worsethan a sixth place finish for any team in any division until later expansions in 1977and 1993.
This created a new postseason round, which was dubbed the League Championship Series,a best-of-five series.
In 1985 the LCS was expanded to a best-of-seven series.
1994–2011: Three rounds By 1994, further expansion was making it verydifficult for a team to make the postseason.
Major League Baseball went through a realignment,expanding to three divisions in each league.
However, only allowing divisional winnersin the postseason would make an odd number of teams in each league, three.
To rectifythe odd number of teams, the league added wild-cards to each league, imitating the originalpost-merger NFL system.
The wild-card team would be the team with the best record ineach league of all the teams that did not win their division.
Splitting the leaguesinto three divisions, plus the addition of a wild-card team, doubled the postseason contendersin each league from two to four, and from four teams overall to eight.
The additionalteams meant another elimination round was necessary.
This new round would become thenew first round of the postseason, the best-of-five Division Series.
This term had first beenused for the extra round required in 1981 due to the "split-season" scheduling anomalyfollowing the midseason baseball players strike.
This format was in place for the 1994 season,but the players' strike canceled the postseason.
The format was realized on the field in 1995.
Under this format, the wild card team played the top-seeded divisional champion in theDivision Series, unless the two teams were in the same division, in which case the wildcard team played the second-seeded divisional champion; in both cases the remaining twoteams from that league played each other in the other Division Series.
The winners ofthe two Division Series from each league went on to play each other in the League ChampionshipSeries.
As with the previous postseason format, the winners of each League Championship Seriesmet in the World Series.
2012–present: Expanded wild cardWith the adoption of the new collective bargaining agreement in November 2011, baseball commissionerBud Selig announced that a new playoff system would begin within two years; the change wasultimately put into place in 2012.
The format chosen was the one-game Wild Card playoff.
Under this format, a second wild card team has been added to each league, i.
, the teamwith the second-highest win total in each league among non-division winners.
The twowild card teams play in a one-game playoff after the end of the regular season, withthe winner advancing to the Division Series.
The divisional champions qualify for the DivisionSeries just as in the previous format; however, under the expanded wild card format the winnerof the one-game wild card playoff faces the top-seeded divisional champion in the DivisionSeries, regardless of whether the two teams are in the same division, while the second-and third-seeded divisional champions play each other in the other Division Series.
Theformat for placement in the League Championship Series and World Series remains.
Future MLB were discussing about the possible playoffexpansion to be exactly like National Hockey League or National Basketball Association.
Although, they weren't sure about this yet.
Home-field advantageWorld Series The World Series used several different formatsin its early years.
Initially it generally followed an alternating home-and-home pattern,except that if a seventh game was possible, its site was determined by coin toss priorto the sixth game.
In 1924 the Series began using a 2-3-2 format, presumably to save ontravel costs, a pattern that has continued to this day with the exception of a coupleof the World War II years when wartime travel restrictions compelled a 3-4 format.
Fromthe start of the 2-3-2 format through the 2002 season, home-field advantage generallyalternated between leagues each year.
Prior to the 1994 strike, the National League championreceived home-field advantage in even-numbered years and the American League champion inodd-numbered years; these were reversed for 1995-2002.
That changed starting in 2003.
The 2002 All-Star Game had ended in a tie, much to the displeasure of both fans and sportswriterswho complained about a lack of intensity and competitiveness on the part of the players.
This hit especially close to home for Commissioner Bud Selig, as the game had been played inhis home city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
In response, to give some real meaning to thegame, in 2003 MLB began assigning home-field advantage in the World Series to the winnerof that year's All-Star Game, which is typically held in mid-July.
Thanks to a seven-All-Star Game winning streak for the AL from 2003-2009, coupled with theAmerican League's scheduled home-field advantage in the 2002 Series, the American League wasgiven the first two home games and home field in any seventh game in each World Series.
It did not help the Yankees in 2003, the Tigers in 2006, or the Rays in 2008, but arguablyit gave a jump start to the Red Sox in 2004 and 2007 and the White Sox in 2005, all threeof which ended up sweeping their opponents in the World Series.
In 2010, the NL won theirfirst All Star Game since the change in the assignment of home-field advantage.
The Giantsused this advantage to help them win the World Series for the NL in 2010.
But this smallsample roughly correlates with the overall record, in which the team with home-fieldadvantage has won the Series only about half the time.
League Championship Series Until 1998, the LCS alternated home-fieldadvantage with a 2-3 format in the best-of-5 era and a 2-3-2 format when it went to best-of-7.
Now home-field advantage goes to the team with the best record, or in the case of awild card team vs.
divisional winner, the divisional winner would receive home-fieldadvantage.
Division SeriesUntil 1998, the Division Series rotated which of the three division champions would nothave home field advantage, with the wild card never having it.
Now the two division winnerswith the best records in each league have home field, with the least-winning divisionalwinner and the wild card not having home field.
The DS used a 2-3 format until 1998 and nowuses a 2-2-1 format.
This is seen as a much fairer distribution of home field advantagebecause previously under the 2-3 format, the team hosting the first two games had absolutelyno chance of winning the series at home.
With the current 2-2-1 format however, both teamshave the home field advantage in a way.
While one team gets to host three games, the otherteam does get two chances out of three of winning the series on its home field.
Also,the team earning homefield is assured of hosting two games instead of the lesser record teambeing guaranteed the two games.
With the adoption of the expanded playoffformat in 2012, the five-game Division Series began with two home games for lower seeds,followed by up to three home games for higher seeds.
This one-year change eliminated a travelday prior to a decisive Game 5 of a Division Series and was necessary because the 2012regular-season schedule was announced before the agreement on the new postseason was reached.
For 2013, the Division Series returned to the 2-2-1 format used in previous years.
Postseason bonuses There are three factors that determine theactual amount of bonus money paid to any individual player: 1) the size of the bonus pool; 2)their team's success in the season/post-season; and, 3) the share of the pool assigned tothe individual player.
How the Bonus Pool is determinedThere is a separate pool for each series – the Wild Card games, the Division Series, theLeague Championship Series, and the World Series.
The player’s bonus pool is fundedwith 60% of the gate receipts for each of the Wild Card games, the first three gamesof each Division Series, the first four games of each LCS and the first four games of theWorld Series; limiting the funding for the pool to these games, the minimum number ineach series, removes incentive to extend the series for merely fiscal sake.
The value ofthe gate is determined by the size of the venues, the amount of high-priced premiumseating in the venues, the number of games played in the series and whether or not thegames sell out.
Ticket prices for each series are set by MLB, not the home teams, so theyare relatively uniform across baseball.
How much the winner and loser receives fromeach pool The World Series winner gets 36%, the WorldSeries loser gets 24%, both League Championship Series losers get 12%, the four Division Serieslosers get 3.
25%, and the two Wild Card playoff losers get 1.
How the team’s share of the pool is divided The player shares are voted upon by the playersthat were on the team during the entire regular season in a meeting chaired by their unionrepresentative.
This meeting follows the trade deadline on July 31.
Players who were withthe team for the full season automatically receive a full share.
Anyone else, includingplayers who have not been with the team for a full season, coaches, or trainers may begranted a full share, less than a full share, a cash award, or no share as a result of thevote by the full season players.
The pool of money is split according to the sharesdetermined in the vote.
There is no limit to the number of shares that may be granted,but a greater number of shares dilutes the value of each share, and consequently theamount each player is awarded.
As an example, playoff pool full share holdersfor the St.
Louis Cardinals received $362,183.
97 each when the team won the World Series in2006.
See alsoMajor League Baseball postseason teams List of Major League Baseball franchise postseasondroughts List of Major League Baseball franchise postseasonstreaks Major League Baseball wild-card gameDivision Series Criticism of schedulingAmerican League Division Series National League Division SeriesMLB division winners National League pennant winners 1876-1968American League pennant winners 1901-68 League Championship SeriesClimax Series National League Championship SeriesAmerican League Championship Series World SeriesProfessional baseball References.