If playoffs expand, winning division becomes key

If playoffs expand, winning division becomes key

If playoffs expand, winning division becomes key
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Talks are still ongoing, but it looks like Major League Baseball and the Players Association are moving towards an agreement to implement two additional Wild Card teams for this year's playoffs.

That would bring upon one prevailing thought: Winning a division is now a whole lot more important.

"It makes it more interesting," Angels reliever LaTroy Hawkins said. "One more reason why you just win your division, and you don't even have to worry about it."

"That's the whole thing," outfielder Vernon Wells added. "Do everything you can to win your division, and if you don't, and you can make that Wild Card, you have a second chance."

In the new system, the two Wild Card teams would face each other in a one-game elimination to see who moves on to what has traditionally been the five-game Division Series.

Adding two additional playoff teams should create more excitement and hope around the Majors, and it gives division winners more benefits than they've had since the Wild Card came into play in 1995. Make it in as the Wild Card, and your entire season could come down to one game. Win the division, and you'll automatically move on to the next round, and perhaps even get a chance to line up your rotation.

In case you're wondering, the Angels would not have made it to the playoffs either of the last two seasons if that system were in place. In 2010, the Angels finished 10th in the AL. In 2011, the fifth-place team in the Junior Circuit was the collapsing Red Sox (four games ahead of the Angels).