SURPRISE, AZ - FEBRUARY 23: Yu Darvish #11 of the Texas Rangers streches during spring workouts at Surprise Stadium on February 23, 2012 in Surprise, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
Major League Baseball's new playoff system favors the Texas Rangers in more ways than one.
Major League Baseball announced today that the playoffs will expand to 10 teams, with a second wild card winner being added in each league.
The two wild card winners will play a one-game playoff game to advance to the LDS to take on the team with the best record in the league. The LDS, LCS and World Series formats will remain the same.
While some baseball fans are irate about adding another two teams into the playoffs, Rangers fans shouldn't be as the playoff expansion certainly looks like it will favor the two-time defending AL champs.
In 2011, Texas finished with 96 wins, second best in the American League to New York's 97. However, last season, the Yankees didn't receive much of a reward as they had to face a Detroit team as good if not better than the Tampa Bay Rays squad that the Rangers faced in the ALDS.
But in 2012, the top seed will be rewarded with facing the Wild Card team, who will have had to burn their ace to reach the Division Series, instead of a fully rested division champion.
In 2012, the Rangers won't have to beat both the Yankees and the Red Sox to earn a wild card berth. With all apologies to the AL Central, all Texas will need to do to return the playoffs is beat out the third place team in the AL East.
While the magic of Game 162 in 2011 may never be replicated, there's still plenty of exciting possibilities that the second wild card can bring. It's certainly possible that excitement like that will never happen again under this system -- but there's no guarantees that it would under the old one.
The long-term effects of this radical expansion of the playoff system are still unknown, but for now, the Rangers stand to benefit greatly from it.