2/18/2013 1:36 PM (edited)
In pretty much every league I'm in where tiebreakers are necessary after 162 games to determine who goes to the playoffs, owners have questions about how they work.  I've compiled here answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.

1.) WIS uses MLB's rules for handling ties.  A good summary of the MLB rules can be found here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/bullpen/Resolution_of_ties_in_division_races

2.) When 2 teams tie for the division title, no play-in game is needed if both teams already qualify for the playoffs (in other words, if both teams have better records than all other teams that were in contention for the wild card).  See scenario 1 in the above link.

3.) If 3 or more teams are tied for either a division title or a wild card spot, WIS uses a round robin (as described in scenario 5 of the above link).  Suppose teams A, B, C all finish with identical records.  A and B are tied for the lead in their division, and C is the second place team in another division.  A and B will play first to determine the division title.  The loser will then play C for the wild card.  Note that even though the loser of the first game will now technically no longer have the same record as C, they are still considered tied.

4.) It is not clear to me how WIS resolves ties when play-in games are not needed, nor how they determine home field advantage.  They may use the exact tiebreakers used by MLB; they may use a different set of tiebreakers, or they may just use the equivalent of a coin flip.  If anyone knows, please post.

(UPDATE: Thanks to pinotfan for posting the correct answer to this, from the Knowledge Base.)
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5/19/2012 7:49 PM
Q. What happens if teams tie for the division title or wildcard?
  A.

In the case of a two-way tie at the end of the regular season in which a playoff appearance is at stake, a 1 game playoff will be scheduled between the two teams. This is only in a situation where only one of the two teams will make it into the playoffs. If both teams will make it into the playoffs, one as the division winner and the other as the wildcard, the divisional winner is determined by best head-to-head record. If they are the same, the next tiebreaker is divisional record. If they are still the same, a one-game tiebreaker is scheduled to determine who will be the divisional winner and who will be the wildcard.

In the case of a 3-way tie, the teams are ranked off of head-to-head records against the other two teams as teams A, B, C. It takes the team with the best head-to-head record as the A team. If the teams all have the same records against each other, it chooses one as the A team. Then the two remaining teams are ranked based off head-to-head against each other where the one with the most wins will be the B team. If the two teams have the same head-to-head records, it chooses one of them as the B team. Then a game is scheduled between the C and B teams where B is the home team. The winner of that game will be scheduled against team A where A is home. The winner of that game will win the spot in the playoffs.

In the case of a 4-way tie, it sets the teams as teams A, B, C and D arbitrarily. Two games are scheduled, one where B plays A where A is home and the other where D plays C where C is home. The winner of that game will play against each other where the home team will be the winner from the A-B game. The winner of that game will win the spot in the playoffs.

The same rules apply for divisional and wildcard tiebreakers, except all two-way ties will play one game tiebreakers.


To reference this article use the following URL:

http://www.whatifsports.com/knowledgebase/KB_Article_Details.aspx?kbid=9
9/14/2013 1:40 PM
Posted by uncleal on 5/19/2012 6:58:00 PM (view original):
Note that if you have 3 teams tied for a *single* wildcard or division playoff slot (as opposed to 2 slots, as contrarian's #3 scenario), you MUST submit a support ticket to prevent WIS from screwing up and booting a team out of the play-in altogether.
This is not true.  Or at minimum, is no longer true.  I have been in several leagues with exactly this situation, and it works fine.
9/14/2013 3:00 PM
Posted by contrarian23 on 9/14/2013 1:40:00 PM (view original):
Posted by uncleal on 5/19/2012 6:58:00 PM (view original):
Note that if you have 3 teams tied for a *single* wildcard or division playoff slot (as opposed to 2 slots, as contrarian's #3 scenario), you MUST submit a support ticket to prevent WIS from screwing up and booting a team out of the play-in altogether.
This is not true.  Or at minimum, is no longer true.  I have been in several leagues with exactly this situation, and it works fine.
Yup. Was true when I wrote it, not true now. Nice fix.
1/24/2014 9:03 AM
Update...the WIS tiebreaker rules for OLs reflect the way MLB did it during the era of 1 wild card per league (1994-2011).  MLB's rules have changed with the new 2 wild card format.

Biggest difference here is that MLB now does require a tiebreaker game when 2 (or more) teams tie for the division title in order to determine who wins the division and who is the WC, even if all of those teams are guaranteed to make the playoffs.  In the 1994-2011 era they did NOT use tiebreaker games for this purpose.  They followed the tiebreaker criteria outlined above.  See, for example, the 2005 AL when NY and BOS tied for the AL East lead.  They did not play a tiebreaker game to determine the division winner, since both teams were guaranteed to make the playoffs.  NY was awarded the title based on H2H record with BOS during the regular season.  Boston was the wild card.
1/29/2014 7:06 PM
I thought it was because New York is so much cooler than Boston. 
1/29/2014 7:49 PM
Maybe by 1 or 2 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer, but I doubt the year round average temperature is any lower in NYC.  And I can't fathom why that would factor into MLB's decision making, but you might be right.  I wouldn't put anything past the Selig administration.

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