How Does The Wild Card Work In Baseball? Detail Overview

Last Updated on July 3, 2021 by

Firstly five teams from each league that makes up the MLB had to qualify and make it to the playoffs. Ten teams make it to the playoffs every year. Therefore, two leagues make up the MLB which is the American League and the National League. The six divisions (NL East, NL Central, NL West, AL East, AL Central, and AL West) have one winner each from the division, all six winners from the different divisions automatically qualify for the playoffs. Remember I said that 10 teams qualify for the playoffs, well the remaining four are teams from both leagues that had the best records even though they didn’t win their division. Just like we have explained, the wild card is a word used when a team that didn’t win its division but holds the best record from its division qualified and competes in the championships Alongside the winners of each division. It’s like a second chance.

Baseball Wildcards 

Baseball Wildcards

In baseball, there is always a wild card team from the American and National leagues that would be chosen at the end of the season based on their winnings. A wild card team can be chosen from any division, this means that there will always be two teams to qualify for the playoffs from each league in the same division. Although, the wild card teams are chosen by their amount of wins which sometimes can even be more than the wins of a division winner. Apart from the world series, the wild card team is to surrender its home-field advantage against its opponent after qualifying for the playoffs. For the first game in the playoffs, the wild card team will be scheduled to play against the team with the most winnings in the league. 

The wild card came into play in 1995, it was put in place to heighten the excitement of the Postseason. Also, it was good because it gave teams who didn’t win their division the privilege to compete in the playoffs. 

What Do You Mean By MLB(Major League Baseball) Playoffs?

It is MLB’s yearly championship game. The MLB playoff is commonly known as the tournament for elimination, it is held every year after the regular season. The playoff is held to determine the world series Champions. 

How Does The Playoffs For The MLB Teams Work?

The first round of games in the playoff is known as the wild card game. This round is an introductory round where the wild card teams from both leagues face off for one game of elimination. After the introductory round, two winners progress to the next round which is seen as the first main round of the playoffs which is also called the division series.

The Division series which is called the ALDS or NLDS is practically the quarter-final because only eight teams are remaining. The winners go against the team in the same league as them that has the highest win record. While the two remaining teams from each league play against each other. For the division series, they have a format where five games are being played to determine the qualifiers for the next round. It is done by making the first team that wins three games advance to the next round. 

After this stage, the two winners from the division series of each league will now advance to the league championship series which is also the semi-finals. This stage is also called the ALCS and the NLCS. Both LCS combined are 7 played games to pick out the first team to win four games. The winners of this stage now advance to the world series. 

Just like the semi-finals, the world series is a seven-game play fighting for the first team to win four games. 

How Does Home-Field Advantage Work? Also, What Is Home Field Advantage?

The home team advantage is caused by the fact that each round of the playoffs has a total odd number of games and each team has to host an equal amount of time. This cannot be possible because the number of games is odd, therefore, one team will host more than the other. We would now say that such a team has a home-field advantage. In the wild card elimination round, the home-team advantage is given to the team with the better regular-season advantage. 

For the division series, the two-division champions in both leagues with the best regular-season record get the home-field advantage.

For the semi-finals or championship series, the home-field advantage is given to the team with the best regular-season record just like in the division series. Although, it’s a little bit different here, because if the team liable for the home-field advantage is a wild card then the other team gets the home-field advantage not minding the regular-season record. Also, the team with the advantage gets to host twice first before hosting the series’ last two games. 

Now, for the world series which is the highest series, the league champion with the best regular-season records is given the home-field advantage. The world series schedule games in a 2-3-2 format and the team with the advantage gets to host the first two and then the last two. 

How Many MLB Teams Are Put In The Playoffs?

10! The MLB moves to the playoffs with 10 teams. These 10 teams consist of four wildcard teams, four from each league and 6 divisional league winners, 3 from each league and one from each division. 

In The History Of Baseball, Has A Wildcard Team Won The World Series?

Yes! The first-ever team to qualify using the wild card advantage and then still moves on to win the Super Bowl is the Oakland Raiders in 1980. 


The Wild card in baseball is an advantage, a privilege given to a team. The MLB had to increase the fun in baseball and tried to make sure that not only winners get the chance to win the world series. We’ve reached the end of this informative article. We hope that this article helped you find resources in your quest to know how baseball wild cards work. Do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or comments. Thanks!

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