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Selig: baseball “moving inexorably” toward a ten-team playoff

Apr 21, 2011, 5:08 PM EDT

Selig hands up

We’ve seen this coming for some time, but Bud Selig today said that baseball is “moving inexorably” toward an expanded playoff beginning with the 2012 season, and said that, while there are details to be worked out, it will likely be a ten-team affair. Specifically, he said “ten is a fair number.” This is a more precise way than he put it last fall when he said “Eight is a fair number. So is ten.”

Not that fairness is the real consideration behind this. If it was they’d just do a 30-team tournament because there’s nothing more fair than that.  No, this is about revenue from highly-rated national playoff games and several hundred thousand more people going through the ballpark turnstiles at playoff ticket prices. It’s also about job security, as anonymous baseball sources have admitted that it’s way better to be able to tell the team’s owner that, hey, they put a playoff team together rather than put a good team together that fell oh so short.

The league wants it. The union doesn’t oppose it.  It’s happening.  I just wish that when people talked about it they didn’t try to convince me that there are baseball, as opposed to business arguments for it. Because there clearly are none.

UPDATE: OK, I’m being overly grumpy. An additional wild card round — which is what Selig suggested, though he doesn’t know its length — will make winning the division a preferable option to winning the wild card and will make it all the harder for a marginal team to win it all.  That is a good baseball reason.  It doesn’t overcome my distaste of it because I hate short series — and God help us if they make it a one-game play-in thing, because that’s just gimmicky — but I’m being a grouch when I say there “clearly are none.”  I just don’t like ’em.

Now get off my lawn.

  1. sknut - Apr 21, 2011 at 5:16 PM

    I wish it would stay the way it is. I love the wild card and think its done great things, but lets not dillute the process of getting to the postseason. Its what truly seperates baseball from the other sports. Plus we don’t need the World Series dragging into mid Novemeber.

  2. spudchukar - Apr 21, 2011 at 5:23 PM

    Where to start? I hate this, I hate this… Already the 5 game play-offs suck. The only hope is that the better teams, (recordwise) get a weighted advantage. Will it be a 3 game play-off between the 2 wild card teams and then resume the usual play-off order? If so, and if their is little time starting the next round, and the wild card teams are punished accordingly, maybe I can live with it.

    • spudchukar - Apr 21, 2011 at 5:29 PM

      Okay, like you Craig, upon further thought, maybe this is okay. If it is a 3-game wild-card series, and the team with the best record gets to play the winner, thus penalizing the wild-card even more then I can see the upside. Especially, if it shortens the days off in between games, thereby, creating a play-off that is more an example of the regular season.

  3. cur68 - Apr 21, 2011 at 5:24 PM

    I can’t believe it; 2 Bud Selig posts where I don’t disagree with Bud (the Bonds’ record post is the other). Strange day.

    I agree, this is being driven for revenue. The ‘fair’ argument is horsefeathers. I do not actually mind, though. There will be more baseball. So a wild card round, then wild card v. division winner. Cool. The Jays have a chance now. So what; Wild Cards will be non division winning teams with 2 best records squaring off, right?

  4. trevorb06 - Apr 21, 2011 at 5:26 PM

    I love the 8 team play off because it means every year my twins give me more and more gray hairs (when im 22 years old) because they’re in a three way tie for the last month of the regular season it ALWAYS seems. But this just makes the last month of the season even more intense to watch because really it goes to show that EVERY game does in fact matter more than we give it credit for in April or May.

  5. yankeesfanlen - Apr 21, 2011 at 5:27 PM

    As long as the Yankees play the Twins, I don’t care.

    • spudchukar - Apr 21, 2011 at 5:30 PM

      Cold dude. May you live to regret those words.

    • trevorb06 - Apr 21, 2011 at 5:39 PM

      Yeah, considering the umps gave some of those wins to the Yankees. That ball Mauer hit, totally the right call… yeah… right… mhmm…

  6. Panda Claus - Apr 21, 2011 at 5:37 PM

    If Bud would somehow consider going to a 30-game playoff system, then us beleaguered O’s and Pirates’ fans could feel included for once.

    • spudchukar - Apr 21, 2011 at 5:49 PM

      Don’t you feel included now?

  7. Mark Armour - Apr 21, 2011 at 5:51 PM

    This puts even more of premium on being in a weak division. You can coast to a 91-win season with an extra few days off, while better teams are fighting it out to avoid the wild-card game.

  8. Ari Collins - Apr 21, 2011 at 5:55 PM

    I actually like this from a baseball perspective just because it will be more entertaining. And while the wild card already protects teams somewhat from losing out on the playoffs just because they’re in a powerhouse division, this would protect teams even more. This could even be called the AL East rule. So many good teams there. (Even if the standings in the first two weeks this year do not back me up.)

    • cur68 - Apr 21, 2011 at 6:01 PM

      My thinking exactly Ari. It burns me every season that some teams get to watch teams with lesser records play in the post. One of the best thing about an all wild card round will be giving those good teams in the AL East some props for playing well and a chance to continue on into the ‘true’ post season.

  9. uuddlrlrbastart - Apr 21, 2011 at 6:28 PM

    What I don’t understand is how baseball continues as a 30-league team. The uneven divisions simply don’t work. Some teams already have advantages, albeit small ones, depending on their division and interleague schedule, with respect to the Wild Card; now there will be two. It seems to me that baseball has to expand to 32 teams and either go to four four-team division or two eight-team divisions.

    Personally, I’d like to see four four-team divisions with no interleague play and a balanced schedule. Probably won’t happen quite that way, but I can dream.

    • spudchukar - Apr 21, 2011 at 6:37 PM

      One simple improvement, send the Astros to the American League West. Natural rivalry with the Rangers and balances things a little.

      • marinersnate - Apr 22, 2011 at 3:30 AM

        Nope. Wrong improvement.

        The easy fix:

        The KC Royal’s move back to the AL West, where they played for years.

        The Milwaukee Brewer’s move back to the AL Central, where they played for years.

        Now you have 6 five team divisions.

        Oh, and the ‘stros stay where they are.

      • umrguy42 - Apr 22, 2011 at 10:45 AM

        I forget precisely where, but I either saw (probably on Baseball Tonight) or read somewhere that going to 2 15-team leagues would actually UNbalance the schedules even more, which is why they put them as they currently are. But as an NL Central fan, I’d be all for moving the Brewers back to the AL :p

      • eddiejc1 - Apr 22, 2011 at 7:24 PM

        Never mind the rivalry with the Rangers. I don’t think the Royals want to do what the Rangers have to do which is schlep two time zones to the west coast to play the rest of their rivals. What baseball needs to do is force either the Rockies or the Diamondbacks to switch leagues so that the Rangers can go to the AL Central where they belong.

  10. seeingwhatsticks - Apr 21, 2011 at 6:31 PM

    This is utterly ridiculous. The only reason the playoffs are expanding is to make sure that the Yanks and Sox both make the “playoffs” every year no matter how good the Rays or Jays or O’s are. So apparently the league has supported and celebrated the success of the Rays (see, small markets can win!) until they realized it meant that one of the two big market teams would be left out. Bud Selig just continues to find new and creative ways to be a joke.

    • kellyb9 - Apr 22, 2011 at 9:39 AM

      The better keep hoping small market teams from the south or domed teams keep playing well. I don’t know about elsewhere, but its going to be cold, snowy, and miserable here in Philly in December. Not really baseball weather.

    • eddiejc1 - Apr 22, 2011 at 7:29 PM

      Thank you! I did not think it was a coincidence that Tim Kirkjian wrote his op-ed piece pleading for an expanded playoff as the Red Sox were falling out of the playoff race last year. How depressing is it that so called baseball fans are uninterested in good teams if they aren’t wearing the right uniforms. if the 1927 Yankees were to go into a time machine and play today, would anybody in America watch if they were wearing the uniforms of the Chicago White Sox or Oakland Athletics?

  11. bigtrav425 - Apr 21, 2011 at 8:01 PM

    It will be just more baseball games i cant see becasue i cant afford cable and they will be on cable as the rest of them are!….that being said..leave it the way it is..bad enough the weather issues in april now were going to have to worry even MORE about november

  12. Mark - Apr 21, 2011 at 8:52 PM

    I hate the idea of adding more playoff teams. This isn’t hockey or basketball where you get a participation ribbon for not rebuilding. Not a big fan of this move.

  13. simon94022 - Apr 21, 2011 at 9:47 PM

    I don’t necessarily hate the idea of 10 playoff teams, especialy if it’s a format that gives division champs a major advantage. Like a best of 3 (or better yet, one-and-done) wild card elimination round.

    The problem is the slippery slope. After a few years of the new format we’ll hear whining about how “unfair” it is that the 94 win wild card Red Sox get knocked out with 1 or 2 postseason losses, while the 85 win AL Central champ got a bye to the next round. Then we’ll hear how GMs think it’s not right to have any playoff series that’s less than Best of Seven. And next thing you know we’re talking about 12 or 16 teams in the postseason, with every round Best of Seven.

    Great formula for a two month long, NBA-style playoff season that would suck the life out of the regular season and suppress interest in baseball. No thanks.

  14. rossesmithii - Apr 21, 2011 at 10:07 PM

    I HATE bud, he is such a asshole and stupid and dosn’t give a s**t about baseball. A money grubbing umm, grub

  15. PanchoHerreraFanClub - Apr 21, 2011 at 10:24 PM

    The best way would be to go to 6 teams and everybody play each other in a three game series for a total of 15 games each team. The three division winners play 9 games at home and 6 on the road. The three wildcards play 6 games at home and 9 on the road. The team with the best record in the 15 games goes to the World Series. If two or more teams tie, single game playoff with the team with the best regular season record being the home team. Play all 15 games in two and half weeks.

  16. dirtyharry1971 - Apr 22, 2011 at 12:02 AM

    thanks a lot Bud! way to water down the regular season and at this pace the world series should be played on xmas, what a a-hole

  17. cktai - Apr 22, 2011 at 3:25 AM

    I fail to see how 10 teams would in any way make it “fair”.

    In my opinion there are only two ways in which you can make it fair. Either have the AL teams play the other AL teams 12 (or 14) times and the NL teams the other NL teams 10 (or 12) times, with the top team winning the pennant for a best of 11 world series, or have a properly balanced schedule where each team players the others 6 times and have the winner crowned champions.

    Then again, we don’t really want fair. We want competition, drama and meaningful games. In that case you can go for 8, 10 or even 16 team playoffs. Just don’t call it fair.

  18. kellyb9 - Apr 22, 2011 at 9:36 AM

    As a fan of baseball, I’d like to see them do away with every “enhancement” they’ve made in the last 40 years or so. But if I had my choice on one, I’d do away with interleague play. If this gets approved, it will probably move above that on my list. It sounds like a great idea, but I don’t want to go to a playoff game in the middle of winter.

    • bh0673 - Apr 22, 2011 at 11:26 AM

      Maybe one day they will consult the fans before they force things down our throats. Kelly I agree even inter league has gotten boring. I can’t wait till it is over and as a season ticket holder with he Yankees I have found demand for those tickets on the secondary market have also become harder to move. I will add one more gripe the unbalanced schedule, how fair is it for a player or a team that has to compete in a tougher division compared to a weaker division. It almost makes the records a little questionable since take a player in a weak division who play most of his games against those teams compared to a player who plays in a tough division who faces better teams and tougher pitchers. Skews the numbers, Selig needs to get feedback form the fans and stop changing the game for his benefit.

  19. stairwayto7 - Apr 22, 2011 at 3:12 PM

    Just so the RedSox and Ynakees play in it every year Spud and ESPN will b ehappy! I hate it!

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