Did MLB expand the playoff format for the 2021 postseason?
Major League Baseball opted not to go with an expanded postseason for 2021.
Despite moderate success in the first implementation of an expanded postseason for the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Major League Baseball will not be going back to that model for the time being.
What does this mean? For now, MLB and the MLB Players’ Association could not come to an agreement on a new playoff model. That’s not to say it won’t come into play come 2022, when there is more stability in the game and perhaps an opportunity to think further ahead to issues such as they next TV and media contract.
What is MLB’s playoff model for 2021?
MLB is going back to the new Wild Card format, in which two teams from each league will play in a Wild Card Game, with the winner moving on to the Division Series. While it’s not a perfect model, it does add one extra game to the postseason, rather than simply crowning one Wild Card champion in each league based on record alone.
A 162-game regular season makes for more incentive for MLB to expand its playoff system. By midseason, many teams are fully out of it, marking decreased interest from those fanbases. However, increasing the number of playoff teams means there’s always a chance for a late-season run.
So, 2021 is likely to feature a 10-team playoff field, assuming MLB and MLBPA don’t come to an agreement before Opening Day.