This year’s baseball playoffs have been a bit unusual. The first major difference is that there were extra teams thrown into the mix. Instead of three divisional leaders and a wild card team in each league, there were five teams who advanced to the postseason in both the National League and the American League.
Another feature that set 2012’s fall baseball apart was the appearance of some unusual contenders. The Junior Circuit saw the Baltimore Orioles win their one-game wild card playoff against the Texas Rangers, as well as the Oakland A’s, who beat the Rangers on the last day of the season to clinch the AL Western Division. Both teams weren’t expected to contend this year and managed to sustain their winning ways throughout the season.
The National League featured the Washington Nationals who, despite having the best record in baseball, were eliminated in the NLDS by the St. Louis Cardinals. No Washington D.C. baseball team has been to the playoffs since 1933, a remarkable feat.
All of this excitement and surprise conspired to make the ALCS between the New York Yankees and the Detroit Tigers must-see television. In fact, according to Variety, the first two games of the championship series were watched by an average of 6.3 million people. This represents an increase of 39 percent compared to last year’s ALCS.