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 an expanded 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.
“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 creeping toward Thanksgiving.
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.
Game 4 of the World Series had a presidential doubleheader.
The father-and-son team of George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush threw out the ceremonial first pitch Sunday night in what Major League Baseball said was the first time two former presidents attended a World Series game.
George W. Bush, the 43rd president, threw the pitch, with his dad, the 41st president, at his side.
The younger Bush is a familiar face at Rangers Ballpark, where he became controlling owner in April 1989 and relinquished the baseball position when he took over as Texas governor in 1995.
Texas ace Cliff Lee sported a clean-shaven look heading into his start in Game 5 tonight. The beard he had in Game 1 against the San Francisco Giants, his first postseason loss, is gone. Lee insisted the grooming had nothing to do with the loss. Game 3 on Saturday earned the second-lowest television rating for a World Series game, drawing a 6.7 rating and 13 share, beating only the 6.1 for Game 3 of the 2008 Phillies-Rays series. The rating was down 26 percent from the 9.1 for Game 3 of last season’s Yankees-Phillies World Series. Toronto’s Jose Bautista and Cincinnati’s Joey Votto received the Hank Aaron Award, given to the most outstanding offensive player in each league, in a pregame ceremony.