During a meeting with reporters in New York this week, Commissioner Bud Selig said that baseball is considering expanded playoffs for 2012, meaning 10 teams, instead of eight, will be vying for the World Series.
The format is undetermined, but the two wild card teams in each league will likely play a one-game playoff or a three-game series to advance.
Can’t baseball learn from the NHL or NBA, where the playoffs never end, that more is not better, especially trying to play a summer game in the miserable cold of late October?
A few points:
* For weather reasons, the World Series should end no later than Oct. 20. The games should not be decided at midnight in 30-degree temperatures. More afternoon games should be played.
* More postseason games will lead to a neutral-site World Series. Don’t laugh: Ownership wouldn’t mind this idea. White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf once told me, “There’d be a lot of complaining for a few years, but eventually it would die down.’‘
* It’s unreasonable for division-champ teams to wait around while the wild-card teams are playing to advance.
* Another wild-card team saps the drama from September races. I don’t like the suggestion that playoffs should be expanded because deserving teams get left out. The drama of a deserving team not getting in makes the races interesting. That’s the beauty.
* In an era of 100-pitch limits, expanded October play would take a toll on pitching, baseball’s most expensive commodity. Eventually, expanded playoffs would lead to a six-man rotation.
* The motivation is more money. That’s never good.
If I were the commissioner, I would shorten the season or play more doubleheaders so that the postseason could start the final week of September. And I would eliminate the extra off-days in the postseason so that October has the integrity of the regular season.
But owners will never give up the 162-game schedule. Players are against doubleheaders and TV execs love the extra days off in the October for promotional reasons.
So, what to do? Not much, except buy an ear-lapper cap with your team’s logo on it. That way, you’ll be in tune with the players on the field.