With the World Series playoffs underway, perhaps now is a good time to get baseball fans up to speed who aren’t entirely familiar with how this series works or what it’s specific rules are. As you are probably aware, the Chicago Cubs are taking on the Cleveland Indians. Both teams have waited decades to once again be in the World Series final, so both sides – and their fans – are obviously rather anxious and excited to be here right now.
It took a lot for them to get here, however. The regular season involves 162 games that last from April until early October. At the end of this long season, ten teams make the playoffs – five each in the American League and National League. The winner of each wild card game (from both leagues) advances to the next round of the playoffs, leaving eight, in total. The teams that make it to the Wild Card Playoff are those with the highest and second-highest win total over the regular season among non-division winning teams.
These final eight teams enter the ALDS (American League Division Series) and the NLCS (National League Division Series) and play a series of best-of-5 baseball to determine who goes on to the next round of the playoffs. The winners from these series then go on to play in the best-of-seven ALCS (American League Championship Series) and the NLCS (National League Championship Series). The winners of these series then go on to play in the final World Series Championship Series, which is once again a best-of-seven tournament.
The first team to win four games out of seven claims the title of Major League Champions.
History of the World Series
The first World Series game was played in 1903. The winners of the American League and National League played in a best-of-nine series. Two years later, the tournament became a best-of-seven series.
In 1969, the leagues split into two divisions, after which the ALCS and NLCS were created and four teams advanced to the playoffs. When both leagues adopted six divisions in 1994, another round of playoffs was added with the Division Series. Before the 2012 season started, a fifth team from both leagues was added to the playoffs.
Right now, Home field Advantage for the World Series is determined by whoever wins the “All-Star Game” that’s played in the summer. If the American League wins that game, home field advantage goes to the American League Champions, and vice versa. Prior to that, both leagues would take turns – one year it would be home field advantage for the American League, and the next year it would be advantage National League.