Friday, April 22, 2011

Selig, baseball ready for more playoffs

Bud Selig is a very busy man these days. His most immediate priority seems to be saving the Los Angeles Dodgers from their dueling owners, but he is also trying to improve the sport as much as he can before his scheduled retirement next year.

News broke last week that baseball may finally be ready to move on instant replay. Now Selig said he expects the baseball playoffs to expand from eight to 10 teams. Of course, the details have to be worked out and the players' union has to sign off, but if Selig is publicly acknowledging his expectations for a playoff expansion, it seems like a foregone conclusion.

Selig is showing a lot more openness than I thought he would to some of these proposed changes, particularly instant replay, which he has gone on the record about with his reservations. But I think Selig is smart enough to understand that the sport can't remain static if it wants to compete with other sports for the limited attention of the sports fans of America and the world.

I'm all for changes to the current playoff format in baseball. I like the wild card and I don't agree with some people who think it has diminished the battle for the top spots in the divisions, particularly the American League East. But I think it can be improved in a way that gives teams more incentive to play all the way through to the end of the baseball season. My only concern is that the playoffs not drag on like they do in the NBA (it really shouldn't take six weeks to decide the champion of a league). I’m sure that is one of Selig's concerns too and am optimistic that MLB and the union can come up with a format that everyone can agree to in time for next season.

Thanks to Major League Baseball for the photo.

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