A new wild-card format; and O's fans yawn
So the Orioles' chances of making the playoffs just got better – at least technically speaking.
Commissioner Bud Selig has announced that one new wild-card playoff spot will be added to each league, perhaps as soon as 2012 (certainly by 2013).
The two wild cards in each league would face off for a one-game playoff, and the winner would play the club with the best record (so long as it's not in their own division) and the other two division winners would face off as in past years.
What this means is that AL East teams may be able to send three teams to the playoffs in the future. So the whining about being stuck behind the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees can be tempered ever so slightly.
Of course, the Orioles will still have to play the Yankees and Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays an inordinate number of times in compiling their season record.
And, more to the point, none of this matters in Baltimore if the product on the field doesn’t improve dramatically. At this point, Selig could double the number of playoff teams and the Orioles would still be on the outside looking in.
So you might want to tuck this change away for a while.