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Owners likely to decide on expanded playoff timing this week

Jan 9, 2012, 10:31 AM EDT

Rays' Evan Longoria runs to home plate as his teammates crowd around after his 12th inning home run to defeat the Yankees during their American League MLB baseball game in St. Petersburg, Florida

The owners are meeting in Arizona this week. It’s the last scheduled owners meeting between now and March 1. That’s significant because March 1 is the date by which it is to be decided whether the new expanded playoff system — an extra wild card in each league — will go into effect in 2012 or 2013. Sports Business Journal thinks that decision will be made this week, even if it’s not announced for a bit.

It’ll be interesting to see what they do, because there’s a clear tradeoff of money vs. convenience here. Obviously everyone wants the new playoff game sooner because it will mean dollars and excitement and a means of capitalizing on last year’s crazy last night. The problem, though, is the schedule is already made and it’s really hard to see how they’ll squeeze it in. As it is, Game 7 of the World Series would be on November 1.

My guess, based on nothing but gut: the owners will ask themselves why they should put off until next year what can be done this year and they’ll just fine a way to shoehorn the wild card games in.

  1. icanspeel - Jan 9, 2012 at 10:39 AM

    Since it is happening anyways, whether in 2012 or 2013.. What if teams tie this year? They will have to play an extra game anyways.. although it would be fun if they expanded playoffs and still had teams tie making even more games to be played.

    • 78mu - Jan 9, 2012 at 2:55 PM

      Good point about teams ending up tied.

      If Uggla doesn’t turn his head after rounding third to look at the throw from Pence he probablly gets to the plate a split second sooner and scores so the Braves and Cardinals would have tied.

      And if Papelbon gets Davis or Reimold out in the 9th inning, the Rays and RS are tied.

      Remember how baffled Selig looked when the All-Star game ended up tied like he had no idea what to do? Two teams tied at the end of the season might cause smoke to come out his ears.

      And don’t even mention the problem if the last game of the regular season gets rained out.

  2. JBerardi - Jan 9, 2012 at 10:40 AM

    “Obviously everyone wants the new playoff game sooner because it will mean dollars and excitement and a means of capitalizing on last year’s crazy last night.

    So absurd. It’s ridiculous to try to manufacture a night like that. It can’t be manufactured because while you can monkey around with the wildcard system all you want, you cannot control the distribution of wins. A sudden-death match between two teams that have played to a stalemate over 162 is exciting. A sudden-death match between a 90 win team and, say, an 86 win team just makes a mockery of the regular season.

    • thefalcon123 - Jan 9, 2012 at 11:37 AM

      @JBerardi

      Are you implying that a one game playoff in 2001 between the 102 Win A’s and the 85 Win Minnesota Twins would have been a mockery?

      I don’t even like the Wild Card to begin with. It just dampens the importance of the regular season and allows situations where a weaker team gets to play a division rival in the playoffs when that division rival already beat them over the course of a 162 game season. Why should they have to beat them again? The exciting division crown race between the two best teams in the league are long dead. Adding a one game playoff just decreases the value of the season even more. Now, the only “races” are for the worst division in the league and the 2nd and 3rd place wild card teams.

      • JBerardi - Jan 9, 2012 at 2:36 PM

        I don’t even like the Wild Card to begin with. It just dampens the importance of the regular season and allows situations where a weaker team gets to play a division rival in the playoffs when that division rival already beat them over the course of a 162 game season. Why should they have to beat them again?”

        At least the wildcard, as presently constructed, gives an out when the second best team in the league happens to be in the same division as the best team. IE, in ’04, the Yankees won 101, the Red Sox won 98, and no one else in the AL was over 92 (going off memory here, I think this is right). I think everyone can agree that keeping the Red Sox out of the postseason that year would have been a joke, it was obvious that the Red Sox and Yankees were the two best teams in the AL that year. So at least some years, the wildcard puts a great team into the playoffs that does deserve to be there. Now, under this system, that 98 win Red Sox team would have to face off against some 90-ish win team from the central or west. What kind of sense does that make?

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 9, 2012 at 11:48 AM

      What’s absurd is if the extra team in the playoff scenario happened last year, that night never would have happened b/c all of those teams would have made it. So MLB is trying to capitalize on a great night, but adding a team and making that last night irrelevant?

  3. cur68 - Jan 9, 2012 at 10:53 AM

    I hope the expanded playoffs are instituted for this season. First: more baseball. Win. Second: more teams with a chance. Win. Third: more gripeing from the “purists” (read that as “people who hate change of any sort”). Big win, because anything that annoys a reactionary is fine with me. And finally: the Cubs might actually have a chance. Only a person with a heart of solid stone wouldn’t want to see that.

    • paperlions - Jan 9, 2012 at 11:02 AM

      I don’t hate change of “any sort”, I love innovation, but don’t confuse innovation or advances with change for the sake of change. The 1-game play-in for WC teams is just a bad idea….ideas that are 100% about getting the owners making more money (the owners make much more off of the post-season than the players do compared to regular season games) and 0% about determining a champion are bad ideas.

      • Old Gator - Jan 9, 2012 at 11:31 AM

        This isn’t “change for the sake of change.” It’s change for the sake of money. And that is a beeeeeeeg difference.

    • stex52 - Jan 9, 2012 at 11:05 AM

      Count me with that heart of solid stone. I was amiably disposed to the Cubs until the Bartman Ball fiasco. Since then I have decided that institutional whining is inseparable from the Cubs’ identity and I don’t see any reason to cut them any slack.

      Let the “Thumbs Down”s begin.

    • natstowngreg - Jan 9, 2012 at 11:15 AM

      The Cubs still won’t have a chance.

    • JBerardi - Jan 9, 2012 at 3:17 PM

      “Third: more gripeing from the “purists” (read that as “people who hate change of any sort”). Big win, because anything that annoys a reactionary is fine with me.”

      There’s a pretty big difference between hating progress and hating stupid ideas. I’m all for an electronic strike zone, the universal adoption of the DH, a more extensive (and better) implementation of replay, I’m open to massive, radical realignment, “sanctity” of the leagues be damned. I’m in favor of all sorts of crazy crap, but I’m sure what I’ve listed already is enough to piss each and every HBTer off (well, just the DH comment would have taken care of that).

      I’m not against this because it’s new and different. I’m against it because it’s new and dumb.

  4. thefalcon123 - Jan 9, 2012 at 11:28 AM

    “Obviously everyone wants the new playoff game sooner because it will mean dollars and excitement and a means of capitalizing on last year’s crazy last night.”

    It also means all that week leading into it, with the all the building excitement as the Cards and Rays inched closer and closer would have been totally wiped away…as they would have been having a one game playoff anyway.

    For god’s sake, there are 162 games in a season. How many chances is enough for a team to get into the playoffs already?!?

  5. Old Gator - Jan 9, 2012 at 11:35 AM

    A modest proposal:*

    Why not just make playoff games eleven innings long? That way, you’d probably get your extra games in, and you wouldn’t have to squeeze or stretch into near-infinity the already, grotesquely, distended baseball calendar?

    *Without any intended reference to Jonathan Swift. We’ve already had a discussion about gagging down ballpark hotdogs on another thread. Screaming babies are horrible enough just to have around; Buddha only knows what they must taste like.

    • 78mu - Jan 9, 2012 at 3:01 PM

      Good idea Gator. If the Yankees and the Red Sox were to play a series of 11 inning games there could be one or two that might end before the sun comes up.

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