Expanded playoffs ‘under serious consideration’
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) – Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig gave his strongest indication yet that two extra wild-card teams will be added to the playoffs for 2012.
“I like it enough, so we’ll seriously consider it,” he said Sunday night before Game 4 of the World Series. “Is eight out of 30 enough? Is that fair? And that’s the basic question here, at least for me.”
Asked his opinion of 10 playoff teams, Selig responded: “It’s more fair than eight.”
“Two more would give us 10, and 10 out of 30 I still think is a rational mix,” he said. “But then the next question is how do you do it and what form does it take?”
Selig said this is not the first time he’s contemplated adding more playoffs teams, but that baseball’s television partners previously weren’t receptive.
“We studied this three or four years ago, and I was really quite convinced we need two more and became unconvinced the more we talked,” he said.
Any change in the playoff format would be subject to agreement with the players’ association, and union head Michael Weiner said last week players were open to considering a larger postseason. Selig said his staff will start examining more wild-card teams in mid-November and wasn’t sure there was time to get a plan in place to expand the postseason for 2011.
He also said the 162-game regular season will not change. Clubs do not want to lose ticket money and broadcast revenue from regular-season games.
“You can be assured the clubs do not want a shorter season. No sense misleading each other about all that,” he said. “I’m a devotee of a shorter season, but they’re not, and I understand it. Especially as global television ratings have gone up, you’re talking about a lot of money.”
If each league had two wild cards, they could meet in either a one-game or best-of-three playoff to advance to the division series. There is sentiment against a one-game playoff, but Selig is worried about the postseason extending toward Thanksgiving.
“I’ve had some managers tell me we can’t play 162 games, wind up in a playoff for one game,” Selig said. “So you’re going to get both sides of the argument, and they’re very strong in that opinion, by the way.”
Selig did not sound as if he favored expanding the division series from best-of-five to best-of-seven.
“There’s something about a five-game as opposed to seven, where there’s more tension. There’s more drama,” he said.
On other topics, Selig said:
-He is not upset by those who don’t believe him when he says he intends to retire at the end of 2012. “I have owners calling me all the time telling me the same thing. I thank them for calling, and that’s the end of the call.”
-He thought the commissioner’s office loaning money to the Texas Rangers before the team was sold in August was “absolutely the right thing to do. … It’s all been paid back, and they did very well.”
-There is no timetable for his committee studying options for a new Oakland Athletics ballpark, a group appointed by Selig in March 2009. “The committee is hard at work. They’re going to be reporting back to me sometime after this (the World Series) is all over.”