The Major League Baseball playoffs will begin Friday, October 5.
There will be some interesting changes for 2012 with the new wild-card format. While the teams have yet to be determined, important formats and dates have been solidified. The dates, schedule, and format will be identical for both the National League and American League unless specifically noted.
Here is a look at how the postseason will flow:
All dates provided by MLB.
The Path to the World Series
Wild card round, October 5 (Single Elimination): Both the NL and AL will have a new round of playoffs this year. The two non-division winners with the best records will meet in a single-elimination game. The team with the best record will serve as the home team.
The winners of this game will advance to the League Divisional Series as wild cards.
LDS, October 6 (Best-of-Five): This four-team playoff will consist of the three division winners and the wild card. Teams are seeded according to their regular season records. The top-seeded team will host the bottom-seeded team. The second seed will host the third seed. The divisional series will have a new format this year to accommodate the wild-card round. The format will be switching from a 2-2-1 home/away format to a 2-3. In this case, the lower-seeded team will open the LDS at home for two games. The series then shifts to the higher-seeded team's home park for as many of the remaining three games that are needed.
The winners of each of these divisional series will advance to the League Championship Series.
LCS, AL October 13, NL October 14 (Best-of-Seven): The LDS winners meet in a more traditional 2-3-2 format. The team with the best record gets home-field advantage, unless the wild card has the better record. The wild-card team cannot have home-field advantage. Home-field advantage consists of two at home, three away, and two at home (if needed).
The LCS champions advance to the World Series.
World Series, October 24 (Best-of-Seven): Home field is determined by which league won the All-Star game, so the NL champs will open at home this year. The series follows the same 2-3-2 format as the LCS. The National League champs will host the first two and then travel for the following three. The National League will then host the final two games if needed.
The winner of the World Series advances to a ticker-tape parade and some big honkin' rings.
Christopher Beheler is a Georgia native. He attended his first Atlanta Braves game at the age of 4 and has been a fan of the Braves and baseball ever since.