The Northwest League announced today that it will adopt a split-season format for the upcoming 2010 minor league baseball season.
Each team’s season will be split into two 38 game halves. The playoff structure will be expanded to a best two-of-three divisional series, which will pit the first and second half winners in each division against each other, followed by a best two-of-three league championship series.
The winner of the first half in each division will receive the opportunity to choose the playoff schedule for the divisional round of the playoffs. The first-half winning club can choose to play host to either Game 1 or Games 2 and 3.
The league championship series will continue on a rotating basis with Game 1 in the West Division city and Games 3 and 3 in the East Division city in 2010.
Last season, the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes defeated the Tri-City Dust Devils for the Northwest League title.
Since 1965, the winners of the East and West divisions have played each other in a championship series, with no split-season format.
"We'd been talking about it for a few years," Northwest League President Bob Richmond said in a news release. "We were one of only two or three leagues without a two-tier playoff format, so we decided to give it a shot. We're hoping that it makes things more exciting for our fans."
With the change, only the Pacific Coast League (Triple-A), Appalachian League (Rookie) and Gulf Coast League (Rookie) do not have a split-season schedule.
The Dust Devils open the season June 21 in Pasco vs. Eugene. Ticket plans are on sale start at $49, with full-season tickets starting at s $259. Special ticket rates are available for groups of 20 or more.
Season tickets, mini-plans, and group tickets can be purchased by contacting the Dust Devils front office at (509) 544-8789 or at the Gesa Stadium box office.