"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Wild and Crazy Guy

Joe Posnanski wrote a great post recently on Bud Selig and his claim to believe the long-since disproven tale that Abner Doubleday invented baseball, a post which began as follows (with considerable abridgment here because Posnanski is a fantastic writer but good lord, the man is not concise — and you should really go read the whole thing):

Look, I like Bud Selig. Veteran readers of this blog will know that when I start that way — with “I like Person X” — that usually follows with me attempting to then skewer Person X. Well, I can’t help it. I do like Bud…

…So, because I like Bud, I just kind of shook my head sadly when I saw Tommy Craggs’ story at Deadspin, the one where he prints a Selig letter that calls Baseball’s Easter Bunny* Abner Doubleday the “Father of Baseball.”

Joe Posnanski is a nice midwestern fellow. I am not, so I’ll begin my post a little differently: I do not like Bud Selig. He probably does love baseball, as Posnanski asserts, and good for him. But he’s also fond of collusion, allergic to taking responsibility for his role in any of baseball’s problems, rigidly opposed to any change that does not directly lead to profits for the owners, and in favor of any that does. It doesn’t help that he possesses the sense of humor and charisma of a damp cauliflower. And then to find out that the freaking Commissioner of baseball believes a silly, baseless fable about how the game he represents came into being… sure, Bud. And the Earth was created 6,000 years ago, and the internet is powered by magical fairy gerbils.

When I read about Selig’s statue going up outside Miller Park this summer, my first reaction was to hope that, in my next life, I might come back as a Milwaukee pigeon.

Anyway, I bring this up now because Selig has been talking about a plan to expand the playoffs and add another Wild Card team in each league, and according to an article in USA Today this morning, many of the GMs at this week’s meetings in Florida are in favor of the idea. And I, although I do mostly like the Wild Card, and give Selig credit for adding it, am not.

Selig plans to address the possiblity of adding one wild-card team in each league to the postseason at this week’s general managers’ meetings. That would create 10 playoff teams. The two wild-card teams would play a first-round series — likely in a best-of-three or one-game tiebreaker — while the six division winners would have a first-round bye.

Obviously the “best” team doesn’t win the World Series every year, whether you go by overall record or overall hitting and pitching stats – and that’s fine; the playoffs would be pretty boring otherwise. But one wants, at least I want, the best teams competing. The San Francisco Giants were not the best team of 2010 by any measure I’d use, but they were a team with legitimately great pitching and I enjoyed watching them win.  The 2006 Cardinals, however, were (in my view) a pretty mediocre team that got hot at the right time (Jeff F****** Weaver pitching like Cy F****** Young, do not even get me started)… and that’s okay too, it was all fair and aboveboard, but I wouldn’t want a team much worse than that winning the World Series. When you play 162 games the weight of your record should mean something.

Moshe over at The Yankee U just put up a post expressing similar concerns. I appreciate the Wild Card because it adds spice to the last months of the season and gets more cities, and more fans, involved til the end. But I think already it rewards mediocrity more than one would want in an ideal world, and I don’t think baseball should push it any further.

Am I just being reactionary here? I don’t think so – I support changes like instant replay; I’m not a purist. But this seems like a cash-grab to me.

Categories:  Baseball  Emma Span  Games We Play

Tags:  Bud Selig  expanded playoffs

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1 vins   ~  Nov 16, 2010 4:20 pm

they would definitely need some sort of stipulation that would prevent say, two wild card teams from the same subleague

essentially, the AL east playoffs would be fucking boring to everyone involved after the regular season ;/

I think if they added the team with the worst record just to see how far they would get, would be kindof the best case scenario - still don't really like this idea

next we'll be wanting to give the losers a world series trophy too, because hey, they almost got it and the luxury tax pays for it

2 rob_smith_51   ~  Nov 16, 2010 4:40 pm

I would like to see the same number of playoff teams, but have a 1 to 2 game playoff for the final wild card spot between the next 2 teams after the division winners.

How it would work is the top wild card(WC1) would get to host a 2 game playoff against the 2nd best wild card team(WC2). If they won the first game, the series is over and WC1 advances. If they win the second game, the series is over and WC1 advances. If WC2 wins both games then they advance to play the top seed(WC can play same division). If the WC teams are tied then just do a 1 game playoff.

This would strongly encourage teams to win their division and not back into the wild card. There would be a significant disadvantage to the Wild card team, with the Top seed potentially getting a big advantage.

I didn't want to do a 3 game playoff because it was too long and includes travel and a 1 game playoff makes it even.

I imagine it is too complicated for MLB to do, but this is what I would do.

3 Shaun P.   ~  Nov 16, 2010 5:01 pm

[0] "But this seems like a cash-grab to me."

Me too. I have a hard time thinking of ANY major change that Bud has made that hasn't been a cash-grab.

That's off the cuff, and probably not fair of me. However, his "love" of baseball, no matter how true, does not erase, among all that Emma mentioned, the bullshit that Doug Pappas ably called him out on, to say nothing of his Favre-ian predilections towards promising he was going to retire and then, surprise!, coming back.

In his defense, it is his job to make as many boatloads of money for the owners as he can, and he does that well. I don't have to like it. I don't have to like him, either.

I'm not on board with another Wild Card, or five. If the owners want more money, they should expand to 32 teams, go to 4 divisions in each league, each with 4 teams, and be done.

4 Mattpat11   ~  Nov 16, 2010 6:30 pm

This will only create an NBA/NHL situation where bad teams make the playoffs every year.

5 hiscross   ~  Nov 16, 2010 6:37 pm

Baseball's regular season is like running a gas station. You sell gas to pay the rent, but make your money by selling everything else. I suppose once the play-off gets expanded any smart team will play simulated baseball up until late August and then get serious. Football is all about December and basketball is all about April. SF won in Sept and won in Oct / Nov. They didn't do crap until then, just sold gas.

6 rbj   ~  Nov 16, 2010 6:57 pm

No on expanding wild card. Playoffs are fine just the way they are. Don't dilute the marathon of the regular season.

7 monkeypants   ~  Nov 16, 2010 7:26 pm

a) i too dislike Bud

b) i actually don't care one bit what myth he or anyone else believes about who invented baseball.

c) the fact that mlb has a wildcard is already absurd: long season sports do not need a wildcard to insure fairness since playing well over one hundred games, with several against each opponent, already more or less guarantees that the best teams make it in the playoffs. So increasing the number of wildcard teams would only increase the absurdity.

Frankly, if MLB wants to go this route, they should cut the season by fifty games.

8 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Nov 16, 2010 9:39 pm

[7] Agree with monkeypants (shock!). I think they should go back to two 12 team leagues with one pennant and one WS. Current system is a drag and will only get worse.

9 OldYanksFan   ~  Nov 16, 2010 9:59 pm

[7] I too agree with monkeypants (Oldshock!).
This is just Bud trying to prove there is parity in Baseball, by giving lesser teams an opportunity to Win. So while this does nothing for parity during the season, it does offer mock parity for the Post Season.

And of course, just like those crazy off days during the playoff did, an extra round of playoffs would further prove the season just isn't long enough to make the Division Series 7 games, like it should be.

10 williamnyy23   ~  Nov 16, 2010 10:06 pm

Forget about the integrity of the playoffs....adding a wild card is a mistake from an economic perspective. Baseball's golden goose is the 162 game schedule. By lessening its relevance, baseball would be damaging that asset. Having more teams make the playoffs not only could diminish early season interest, but also make late season contests anti-climatic. If baseball sacrifices the value of its regular season to chase postseason ratings, it will prove to be a big mistake.

11 Bruce Markusen   ~  Nov 16, 2010 11:12 pm

"The man is not concise."

I love it!

12 SteveF   ~  Nov 17, 2010 4:00 am

"...rigidly opposed to any change that does not directly lead to profits for the owners, and in favor of any that does."

That's basically his job description, isn't it? He is an employee of the owners. His job is to make cash-grabs for them.

I can understand not liking the man because of fraud, but not liking the man because he's doing his job (and he isn't exactly making baby-flavored slurpies, here) seems irrational.

13 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Nov 17, 2010 2:03 pm

I don't have a strong opinion about adding more teams, provided there are significant penalties for wild card teams. But before that is done, I think it's far more important to expand the first round to seven games.

I would, in fact, like to see that first round expanded to seven games and have the wild card team required to win five of the seven. There really ought to be a serious penalty for WC teams.

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