Thu Apr 21 06:44pm EDT
I'm not sure why this headline — Selig: Expanded playoffs coming for 2012 — is drawing so much attention.
Maybe it's because Bug Selig promised as much during a meeting he had Thursday with the Associated Press sports editors and they wanted to spin a story out of it.
Otherwise, it's really just a rehashing of a story that broke last December. Selig and baseball's powers-that-be want to expand the playoffs from eight teams to 10 teams, but still have no idea how — or at least won't publicly say — how it's all going to work.
Selig deserves credit for introducing the wild-card spot in 1994 and going to three divisions. It has increased interest in the game and made for some good baseball in October. With the exception of some AL East races, it hasn't robbed that much meaning from the regular season.
But Selig shouldn't misinterpret that praise as an indication that we want more. Our serving of postseason baseball has been just the right size, thank you.
As I said then, it's obvious why Selig wants to put more teams in the playoffs and why no one in a position to do so is going to oppose him. Two more teams means that two more owners, two more GMs, two more managers and two more teams of players are going to look like successes at regular-season's end. That means more job security for everyone involved, more money for the league through television deals and more money for players to split from the playoff gates. A playoff expansion is still subject to the negotiation of the new collective bargaining agreement this winter, but who's going to stand in the way when everyone stands to profit?
The sad part is that an expanded playoff will water down the regular season even further and put baseball's truest thrill — the late-season pennant race — on the endangered species list. The leaders of baseball could once mock the other sports leagues for being too inclusive, but they're one step away from taking a voluntarily plunge in a bid for more money.
Perhaps that's just common business sense and perhaps baseball's illusion of parity will be bolstered and owners will be able to pocket more of baseball's big profits without being pressured by fans to spend more. After all, an owner's validation for a smaller payroll will always only be one playoff appearance away.
But despite that financial logic, it doesn't mean we, as fans, have to like seeing the regular season and its pennant races marginalized even further. My feelings remain the same as they did the last time we were faced with Bud Selig's inevitable march toward a bigger postseason.