It wasn't too long ago that MLB took the somewhat controversial step of adding a Wild Card play in game for both leagues. This extra game was spawned to create a true one game playoff and add some extra spice to what could be pedestrian Wild Card races. With the memorable drama of the last day of the regular season this past year and the usual drama of a one game playoff to make the postseason (ahem, Chip Caray), baseball instituted the new play in games. The merits of a one game playoff between two Wild Card teams after the 162 game season has been heavily debated and certainly has its detractors.
According to Sports Business Journal, MLB is looking to rush the new playoff system to incorporate it into the 2012 season. With MLB's main contract with Fox coming up soon, the question naturally arises as to which network might televise the new play in games. Turner Sports has televised playoff tiebreakers in the past and SBJ reckons Turner would be in line to televise the new play in games...
Under the league’s media contracts, Turner has held the right to carry tie-breaking games at the end of the regular season. Those rights came into play most recently when Minnesota and Detroit played for the AL Central Division crown in 2009.
In accordance with Turner’s contract, media industry sources expect the network to land the rights to the new round of play-in games, but they are waiting to hear definitively that the games are covered by Turner’s current deal.
Here's hoping the new MLB play in games aren't put on Tru TV like the NCAA Tournament's play in games. One has to think if these games were somehow put on ESPN if they would benefit from the 24/7 hype machine Bristol is capable of creating. TBS's postseason baseball coverage has drastically improved throughout the life of their contract, though and baseball fans would probably be content either way as long as it doesn't go to Fox.
The striking element to me out of these new playoff games is the motivation for MLB in launching these play in games. The fairness of the play in games, or lack thereof, has been well documented. Also, the way baseball has struggled in postseason ratings without the Yanks or the Sawx has been well documented. The fact that MLB is trying to move the 2012 schedule around and implement the new postseason immediately tells me the sport is desperate to create some extra juice in spite of how flawed the system may be. Is MLB sacrificing the sanctity of their regular season in a desperation move to create some sense of "win or go home" excitement? Whatever opinion you have, at least we all know Bud Selig will have his finger on the pulse of what baseball needs for another two years. Hooray...