Beginning in 2012, Major League Baseball added a second wild card to each league. This was to give more teams the opportunity to compete late in the season and to add extra intrigue.
So far in the era of duo wild card winners, the breakdown looks like this:
2012 Wild Card Winners
St. Louis Cardinals
2013 Wild Card Winners
Tampa Bay Rays
The 2012 playoffs began with the wild card game on October 5th. The Baltimore Orioles beat the Texas Rangers and the St. Louis Cardinals took the win away from the Atlanta Braves.
Divisional Series play had Baltimore facing the New York Yankees and St. Louis taking on the Washington Nationals. Baltimore lost their game and St. Louis advanced to the next round. This is important because St. Louis was technically the second wild card team. If not for the additional playoff spot, St. Louis would have been void of baseball in October.
St. Louis would lose in the League Championship Series to the eventual World Series winners, the San Francisco Giants. The impact of the second wild card had still been made.
The 2013 playoffs had far different results than in the previous year.
The wild card games took place on consecutive days beginning on October 1st. In this first matchup, the Pittsburgh Pirates pulled away with a win over the Cincinnati Reds. On the very next day the Tampa Bay Rays shutout the Cleveland Indians.
Both Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay lost the next round in the Divisional Series, ending their runs before they could really even start.
It should be noted that Pittsburgh would have earned a playoff spot had there only been one wild card available. However, Tampa Bay had to win in a one-game playoff against Texas just to get to the other one-game playoff against the Cleveland. Because of the extra wild card, there was a bonus game.
Only two seasons including two wild card spots available, it has already made a slight difference in the playoffs. While no wild card team has made it to the World Series since, the effects are still there in an immeasurable way.