American League Division Series
For much of baseball history, there were only four teams in total that qualified for the playoffs – two from the American League, and two from the National League. The playoffs would start with the ALCS and NLCS, and those series would lead into the World Series. It was extremely difficult to make the playoffs at all, and the postseason was rather short.
Beginning in 1995, the playoff field was expanded, and the Division Series round was added. At that point, four teams made the playoffs from each league, as each of the three division winners qualified, along with a wild card. The new format expanded the length of the playoffs, and most fans would agree the month of October was improved as a result.
Off to a Great Start
The best ALDS ever played just may be the first one ever played. The inaugural ALDS featured the New York Yankees and the Seattle Mariners. It was Seattle’s first trip to the postseason in franchise history, after having defeated the California Angels in a one-game playoff to claim the AL West crown.
This series started with the Yankees taking the first two games at home before heading west to Seattle. The Mariners won the next two to even the series, and the decisive game five went to extra innings. Ace starting pitcher Randy Johnson was called in out of the bullpen for the Mariners, who fell behind by a run in the 11th. In the bottom of the 11th, Joey Cora and Ken Griffey, Jr. both reached base before an Edgar Martinez double scored two and finished the series. There have been many great ALDS moments over the years, but this first series may be the best of all.
One of the most memorable plays in baseball history also took place during the ALDS, and that too involved the Yankees. On October 13, 2001, in Game 3 of the ALDS between the Yankees and Oakland A’s, New York shortstop Derek Jeter ran across the field and “flipped” a ball to catcher Jorge Posada, who tagged out a runner at home and preserved a 1-0 lead. The “flip play” propelled the Yankees to the ALCS, and eventually their fourth-straight World Series.
Questions and Answers
Q: How many games are in the American League Division Series?
A: This round of the playoffs is a best-of-five format. Therefore, a team needs to win three games in order to advance. The team with the better record during the regular season will have home field advantage, playing games one and two at home, along with game five, if necessary.
Q: How are the matchups for the ALDS determined?
A: The team with the best record in the American League during the regular season will be the top seed and will play the winner of the AL Wild Card Game. The other two division winners from the regular season will face off in the other ALDS.
Q: How much do ALDS tickets cost?
A: The ticket prices for American League Division Series games will vary not only from series to series, but also from game to game. That said, the average resale price for ALDS tickets is $140.
Q: When will tickets go on sale?
A: The precise date when tickets will become available for ALDS games will depend on how the season plays out and when a spot is clinched. Typically, this happens toward the end of the MLB season in September.