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Bud Selig says he’s open to expanding playoffs

Oct 29, 2010, 1:35 AM EDT

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Baseball commissioner Bud Selig said on Thursday that he is willing to consider expanding the playoffs as early as next season, and said a larger postseason might not have to wait for collective bargaining with the players, according to the Associated Press.

“Obviously, we have to talk to the union,” Selig said. “These are all details we have to work out. While I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it, we have a lot of different opinions on the subject — how to do it, if to do it.”

Michael Weiner, the head of the players’ union, said his members are open to extending the playoffs, including making the division series a best-of-seven series.

Since the wild card was added to the MLB playoff format in 1995, eight of the league’s 30 teams have made the playoffs. That’s a far cry from the NBA and NHL, where 16 of 30 advance. In the NFL, 12 of 32 teams compete in the postseason.

There have been a number of ideas thrown around for how to expand the playoffs, including having two wild card teams play each other in a one-game playoff for the chance to play the team with the best record in the LDS. That wouldn’t add a whole lot to the postseason, would add some incentive to nabbing the top seed, and might add a little more intrigue to the stretch run.

But Selig said he is concerned about the playoffs stretching too deep into the cold-weather season, saying “we’ll look at everything, but look, I’m already concerned.”

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  1. Chris Fiorentino - Oct 29, 2010 at 7:12 AM

    If they do just 14 Day-Night Doubleheaders throughout the season, they won’t lose any revenue and they will be able to end the season in mid-September. Then they will have the flexibility to do whatever they want.

    If they are going to add two wild card teams, I would do it like this…

    Add a layer to the playoffs, giving the 3 division winners a 5 day bye so they are rewarded for winning the division.

    Make there be 2 WC teams and they play a 3 game series with the better record being home games 2 and 3. It not perfect, but it’s more convenient than a 1-3…but that part is open to debate. Then the winners of that series play the top team and the other two teams play in Division series a week later. You still save a week on the back-end of the playoffs. Or if they don’t want to do 14, then do 7 of the day-night doubleheaders and you don’t save as much time.

    Also, with the advent of teams playing in their own stadium, you can make the playoffs a little less rigid and if the series ends earlier, you can have the next round start sooner than 8 days later if need be.

    • larrytsg - Oct 29, 2010 at 7:50 AM

      14 doubleheaders? Are you CRAZY or something?

      Yeah, I know, I never played the game, not even at the Little League level. But this is a schedule that already gives teams only 2 days off PER MONTH, and on top of that you want to add 14 doubleheaders? I don’t think the players will go for that. If you read any of the old player biographies (I’m reading the excellent Willie Mays bio from last year) you learn that these guys are exhausted from the travel and constant play during the season, and that’s the reason they did away with double headers on the regular schedule, and only use them for make-ups/rainouts.

      The simpler solution, one which the owners won’t go for, is to shorten (or return) the season to 154 games. I know, the owners will sacrifice 4 FOUR home games, but with a greater chance of making the playoffs, it might be worth it.

      Expanded playoffs could be fun, especially now that we’ve gotten used to expanding them from 2 WS teams (through 1968) to 4 LCS teams (1969-1993) to 8 LDS teams (1995-now). Not sure how to expand it, but a second Wild Card might not be a bad idea, except it allows the division winners the advantage of seting their rotation and cooling their heels waiting for the first round to finish.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Oct 29, 2010 at 8:15 AM

        You start off calling me crazy for suggesting adding day/night doubleheaders…then you suggest cutting out 8 games from the season? Who’s the crazy one here? LOL. The owners would NEVER in a MILLION YEARS cut out regular season games. NEVER. Why would they do that when they can have the same number of games and just have 8 doubleheaders? I know what you are saying about the players being exhausted, but when has the player’s welfare ever gotten in the way of the owners lining their pockets?

    • larrytsg - Oct 29, 2010 at 4:25 PM

      Sorry, never meant to say YOU were crazy, just the idea that the MLB Players Union would ever agree to it.

      I like the idea of expanding the roster for double headers…. but still, if your employer had you working 28 days a month, with 50% travel, and then you were asked to double shift it a couple of days… it’s pushing the envelope. I’d hate to see my favorite catcher blow out a knee after 18+ innings in a day, or have my shortstop flattened because he “played two”.

      We’ll have to wait and see how it works out.

  2. Panda Claus - Oct 29, 2010 at 7:34 AM

    If Bud is willing to enlighten us with his profound comments, I’d much rather hear about how he plans to implement a better use of replay next season.

    It’s not that I’m all against expanding the playoffs, it’s just that I have a difficult time imagining how MLB will do that without screwing things up.

    The next words out of Bud’s mouth that I’d want to hear, besides when he awards the WS trophy, should be “I’m officially retired now. Thanks for the memories.” Tell me again, when is he supposed to be retiring?

  3. andrewkw - Oct 29, 2010 at 8:12 AM

    If they add anything other then a 7 day DS series I’m done with the playoffs. They’re already way too long imo. I’m not old school at all. In fact I only watched 3 playoff years prior to the wild card but I still don’t like it. Not so much this year but almost always it ends up letting a team in the playoffs who wasn’t that good.

    As a Jays fan with no end in sight to their playoff drought I’d rather go the rest of my life seeing them finish in 4th place then see them in the playoffs with 85 wins or whatever the shortened season equivalent is to that.

    Adding playoff teams cheapens the regular season far too much. If the owners aren’t making enough money they should sell their baseball teams and buy football teams.

    • Chris Fiorentino - Oct 29, 2010 at 8:24 AM

      “As a Jays fan with no end in sight to their playoff drought I’d rather go the rest of my life seeing them finish in 4th place then see them in the playoffs with 85 wins or whatever the shortened season equivalent is to that”

      You mean like the 83-win 2006 World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals ;) I see what you are saying, but sometimes, just getting into the playoffs is all that a team needs to get hot. If the Jays got into the playoffs I think you would love it no matter what their record was.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 29, 2010 at 9:14 AM

        Don’t forget the 2000 NYY won the WS with a first place finish in the AL E having a 87-74 record.

        http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/NYY/2000.shtml

      • Chris Fiorentino - Oct 29, 2010 at 9:28 AM

        Yeah 2000 was a sad waste of quite possibly the greatest single season ever pitched in MLB history. Pedro. What a year for an 85-77 Red Sox team.

        18-6 1.74ERA
        7CG 4SO
        217IP 128H 32BB for a 0.737WHIP
        284Ks
        291ERA+

    • bigharold - Oct 29, 2010 at 11:35 AM

      I agree with you that 7 games for the LDS is fine. Nor am I interested in another layer of playoffs. But, that has less due to the length of the playoffs than watering down the playoff teams. As it is right now about 25% of the teams make it to the playoffs, which seems correct. At what point do you stop adding teams before you start getting teams with .500 records?

      And, even if it was just adding a short or one game WC round. It puts the other teams in the position significant layoffs. While that might help them rest could well upset the their pitching rotations. Most starters are not really interested in going 10 or 12 days between starts. Also, a team with hot bats will not like shutting them down waiting.

      If there are only 30 teams, 10 shouldn’t be making the playoffs. If you want to dis-incentivize the WC take away all or most of their home games. Make the LDS a 7 game series and make the WC entrant play the LDS with one home game and the ALCS with two. That’ll keep’em sprinting to the finish.

      • twinsfn343 - Oct 29, 2010 at 1:06 PM

        If you only add a one game wild card playoff then it doesn’t affect the playoff schedule at all, just like the previous game 163s, so there wont be any issue with too much rest. Also I don’t think people would consider it making the “playoffs” if they played and lost that game. I don’t feel that the Twins made the playoffs in 2008 and I’m sure Padres and Tigers fan feel the same about ’07 and ’09. I know these are divisional one game playoffs but for practical purposes I don’t see how they would be treated any differently. So in terms of amount of teams making the playoff it would stay exactly the same as it is now.

        There won’t be an isse with having sub-.500 teams, I haven’t done the math but I think it might be impossible with 16 and 14 team leagues but the real problem with this idea would be what if 2 teams tied for that extra “wild card”? If that happens I dont know what they would do..

  4. 12strikes - Oct 29, 2010 at 8:13 AM

    1st, Bud Selig is a Clown. Ok… now that this is out of the way…
    I agree that Day Night DH is the way to go. Maybe not 14, but if they did 1 or two a month that would be enough.
    But… If MLB did go with 14, I think they should do the following
    1. Expand the roster for the Double header day only. Bring up 4 players, and 2 of the 4 have to be pitchers. Regulars could get rest, while the “big club” would get a chance see some of the younger talent.
    2. No scheduled DH in September.

    • Chris Fiorentino - Oct 29, 2010 at 8:20 AM

      2 a month(minus September) would be 10 and that would work pretty well. I like the expanded roster idea as well. This is a much more possible solution than removing 8 games from the schedule. That is never going to happen, so it is not even worth debating. We know the owner will never do it. The question is would they be able to work something out that shortens the regular season a week or two so they can add a Wild Card round? Maybe. Maybe a 1-game playoff between two wild card teams works better. Who knows.

      Like I said though…I agree that no expansion is needed. I don’t even think the DS needs to be 7 games. Would it have helped any of the 4 losers this year? I doubt it.

  5. twinsfn343 - Oct 29, 2010 at 9:50 AM

    I say expand the DS to 7 games (probably would have only helped the Ray this year) and add one wild card team.
    To make this fit logistically they would need to expand playoff schedule by 3 days (and that’s if they want to keep the current number of off days.) I think it would be a no brainer for both the owners and players to agree on 3 DH for the added chance to play meaningful games in September. Now to keep the World Series out of November that’s another story, either chop some off days (preferable from fans standpoint) or add a couple more DH in the regular season (would be tough but do able).
    Then make the WC round a one-game playoff. The team with the better record won’t be happy to lay it on the line for just one game but
    A) It’s a major incentive to try and win your division
    B) Better record= home field
    C) If their record is so much better they’ll have time to align their rotation to pitch their ace (another big incentive to try and win their divisions)
    D) Coming from a Twins fan, one-game playoffs are incredibly thrilling
    E) If you didn’t win your division just be happy you are even getting a shot at the playoffs

    I don’t really see a downside to this, from a fan standpoint adding one more wild card team for a one game playoff will not dilute the regular season one bit, it will be almost exactly the same as it is now, only difference is more teams have meaningful games in September. For both the players and owners, they have to give very little in this and both would reap the rewards of added revenue from extra playoff games and the overall better chance of making and advancing in the playoffs.

  6. BC - Oct 29, 2010 at 10:08 AM

    I got it. Play all double headers in April and May. Take the month of June off, because frankly, no one cares about June baseball. Have the All Star Game. Then play doubleheaders every day for the rest of July and August. Take the first two weeks of September off because face it, people are watching football. Play another couple weeks of single games. Then start the playoffs, NCAA hoops style – single elimination, top 8 teams in each league. Only, the lower seeded teams have to have everyone bat lefthanded and only get 2 outs per inning.
    And I’m the Queen of Spain.
    C’MON!!! You can’t possibly water this down any more!!! If anything, I’d get rid of the Wild Card and rejigger division alignment so you have the four divisions and four playoff teams. Turning MLB into the NBA or NHL is NOT the answer!!!

    • Utley's Hair - Oct 29, 2010 at 11:00 AM

      Wow…you’re English is impeccable for the queen of Spain, your Highness.

  7. twinsfn343 - Oct 29, 2010 at 10:41 AM

    I agree they could axe the wild card but there is abolsutley no way that will happen. We have 4 playoff teams now, how would going to 4 divisions make any difference to the current playoff structure? It seems like people are getting hung up on calling 2 teams wild cards why not just say we have 2 one game playoffs with the 2 best non divsion winners in each league and the winner of those games are its league sole “wild card”. In theory how is doing this any different than having games 163 3 of the last 4 years or the Giants-Padres game 162 this year? None except for all the fan and media hype not to mention added revenue. No one cares about winning divisions they just care about making the playoffs and in reality only 4 teams in each league would be making it in this senario which is exactly the same as it is now.

  8. Utley's Hair - Oct 29, 2010 at 11:01 AM

    Of course Bud Light is open to it, or in favor of it—it’s an incredibly bad idea.

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