So, one wild-card team per league isn’t enough for Bud Selig. Can this guy retire already? Go teach your classes. I’m sure they’ll be thrilling. How to ruin the All-Star and then Monumentally Over-Value it the Next Season 104, How to Sell Franchises to Broke People 230, Holding your Hand to Your Ear 421 (Seminar). You get the idea. Bud really wants to leave his mark on the game and that mark is going to be 15-team per league Inter-league cluster bang and 10 of 30 teams making the playoffs. But…those 162 games count. OK.
What’s the problem with 1 more wild-card? It puts a premium on winning the division, but it also seems to add an even more arbitrary nature to the post-season. If they’re adding games, why not just make the first round a best of seven? If you look at this year, you would have been robbed the two big collapse stories. Not that you want to dwell on the negative, but Boston and Atlanta still would have been in this year under the new rules. Do they deserve to be rewarded for those finishes? In 2009, you would have had Boston again (a 3rd place team in their own division) playing the Yankees (who beat them by 5.5 games over the 162-game season). Is that fair if Boston wins that game? In 2008, you have the same AL East scenario flipped. In 2007, 2 teams would have tied for the NL’s 2nd spot (so there’s another game to wedge in), in 2006 you’d have the 83-win Phillies in the post-season. You get my point? Dilution. This year we were whining about how the races were over in August and then you ended up with the best last day ever.
And, the 15/15 team leagues seems to be the first step in making the DH universal. This is MY OWN PERSONAL NIGHTMARE. I don’t know if it’ll change the amount of inter-league games, but they’ll be a constant and you’d have to think that NL teams would have to start making roster adjustments. If that’s the case, is it even fair to have the two different sets of rules?
Anyway, I think baseball is missing the boat. Exclusivity is what they had going for it to a certain extent, and now the opening portion of the playoffs will feel like the NCAA tournament. Just for reference, the Astros move in 2013 and the playoffs may not change until then either.
Speaking of missing the boat, I’m not sure why the Phillies seem intent on running the exact same team out there after they promised some type of change. I’m speaking especially in terms of the bench as it looks like Brian Schneider is going to be back. Schneider does that “handling the staff” thing well, but at this point in his career is a liability at the plate. You throw him on a bench with Valdez/Martinez and suddenly you’ve got 3 guys who can’t really hit. The Phils laud their defense and then complain about production. It doesn’t make any sense. And, the way Amaro is talking this week, you’ve just got to hope he’s lying. He’s talking about everyone coming back, both middle infielders and Benny San Fran. Well, there’s your bench. Where’s the turnover coming from?