The Major League Baseball postseason is an elimination tournament held after the conclusion of Major League Baseball’s regular season. It consists of one best-of-five series and two best-of-seven series.
Major League Baseball itself does not use the terms “playoffs” or “tournament” for postseason action. Instead they use the term “postseason”. MLB has stuck with “Series” for each level of its postseason tournament. In the Majors, the singular term “playoff” is reserved for the rare situation in which two teams find themselves tied at the end of the regular season and are forced to have a playoff game (or games) to determine which team will advance to the postseason.
Thus, in the Majors, a “playoff” is actually part of the regular season and thus can be called a “Pennant playoff”. However, the plural term “playoffs” is conventionally used by fans and media to refer to baseball’s postseason tournament (and has always been used by Minor league baseball for its own postseason play), so this article defers to that usage.
Major League Baseball is the oldest of America’s major professional sports leagues, dating back to the 1870s. As such, it is steeped in tradition. The final series to determine its champion has been called the “World Series” (originally “World’s Championship Series” and then “World’s Series”) as far back as the National League’s contests with the American Association during the 1880s.
Only one team that won less than half its games has advanced to the postseason, though several teams have finished only a few wins above the .500 mark. In 1903, the two modern Major League Baseball leagues began annual postseason play with a one-round system in which the American League team with the best record faced the National League team with the best record in a best-of-seven series (in 1903, 1919, 1920, and 1921 it was best-of-nine) called the World Series; however, there was no 1904 Series because the National League Champion, the New York Giants, refused to play.
This single-tiered approach persisted through 1968, even with the expansions of 1961-1962 that made it necessary for two teams each year to finish their seasons in ignominious double-digits, as it were, in tenth place.
In 1969, both leagues expanded to twelve teams and this made it harder to make the World Series because there were more teams competing for the AL and NL pennants.
To remedy this, and imitating the other major sports’ long-standing playoff traditions, Major League Baseball split each league into Eastern and Western divisions, creating four divisions overall and no worse than a sixth place finish for any team in any division until later expansions in 1977 and 1993.This created a new postseason round, which was dubbed the League Championship Series (LCS), a best-of-five series. In 1985 the LCS was expanded to a best-of-seven series.
There is a separate pool for each series the Division Series, the League Championship Series, and the World Series. The players bonus pool is funded with 60% of the gate receipts for the first three games of each Division Series, the first four games of each LCS and the first four games of the World Series; limiting the funding for the pool to these games, the mimimum number in each series, removes incentive to extend the series for merely fiscal sake.
The value of the gate is determined by the size of the venues, the amount of high-priced premium seating in the venues, the number of games played in the series and whether or not the games sell out. Ticket prices for each series are set by MLB, not the home teams, so they are relatively uniform across baseball.
The World Series winner gets 35%, the World Series loser gets 24%, both League Championship Series losers get 12%, and the four Division Series losers get 3%. In addition, the four second-place teams that fail to qualify for the postseason receive 1% of the pool.
The player shares are voted upon by the players that were on the team during the entire regular season in a meeting chaired by their union representative. This meeting follows the trade deadline on July 31st. Players who have not been with the team for a full season may be granted a full share, less than a full share or no share as a result of the vote. Non players, such as trainers, may be granted full or partial shares.
The pool of money is split according to the shares determined 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 the amount each player is awarded.
Just to give a sense of the amount of money a particular player might receive, members of the St. Louis Cardinals received over $ 362,000 for winning the World Series in 2006. BOLA TANGKAS