When Bud Selig, the Major League Baseball commissioner, added a second wild-card team for each league in this year's play-offs, he was banking on added excitement come September.
But did even Selig see this coming? Through play on Thursday, 18 of 30 teams in the majors were within four and a half games of a play-offs position, either a division title or one of four wild-card spots.
That's more than half the teams, eight in the American League and 10 in the National League.
This time a year ago, when only one wild-card team from each league made the postseason, only 10 teams could say the same.
Two of the teams who have stormed into September contention were trading off key players at the July 31 deadline, thinking they were out of the play-offs picture.
The Milwaukee Brewers traded ace Zack Greinke to the Los Angeles Angels. The Philadelphia Phillies traded two-thirds of their starting outfield, in Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence, and starter Joe Blanton.
But on Thursday, both teams were within four games of the second wild-card spot.
The Brewers, who trailed the second wild-card team by 13 games on August 6, have won 18 of 23 games to pull within three games of the St Louis Cardinals. At 72-71, the Brewers are above .500 for the first time since April 12.
"That's the way this game is; you never know what can happen," Travis Ishikawa, the Brewers first baseman, told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. "You add that one extra spot and everybody seems like they're in it now. "
The Phillies went on a run of seven wins and have won 15 of 20 overall to close to within three and a half games of the St Louis Cardinals. "I'd say we're dead in it," Charlie Manuel, the Phillies manager, told MLB.com.
The Atlanta Braves and their manager Fredi Gonzalez were certainly feeling the effect of the new wild-card format this week.
The Braves were leading the NL wild-card race by five and half games, and all three division leaders had healthy leads as well.
But the Brewers swept them in three games and Gonzalez heard all about it walking around downtown Milwaukee.
"I heard people talking at the coffee shop about how [the Brewers] feel like they can get back into it, and the Phillies are right there," Gonzalez said.
"It's creating some enthusiasm, and I think that's what Major League Baseball wanted."
The odds are still stacked against the Phillies and Brewers reaching the wild-card spot. But then again, who thought they would get to this point?