Postseason to have fewer breaks
CHICAGO -- Baseball plans to cut down on off days during the postseason next year.
Commissioner Bud Selig said Wednesday he's working on tightening up the 2010 playoff schedule so there will be fewer gaps between games.
Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia criticized the current format after the Yankees and Angels played only eight times in 20 days going into Game 6 of the AL Championship Series.
"We're going to change it," Selig said. "I don't disagree with Mike Scioscia. I think he was right, so we're going to try and tighten that up."
Selig also said he would continue to discuss instant replay, but it's not expected to be a major topic when owners have a full meeting Thursday morning even though there were several missed calls by umpires during the postseason.
In the past, Selig has resisted the idea of expanded video replay. Under the current system, it is used only to judge if home runs have cleared the fence or are fair or foul.
"I'm going to talk to a lot of people. I haven't changed my view at all, but I'm always willing to talk to a lot of people and I've talked to a lot of managers and I've talked to a lot of general managers," Selig said. "I haven't heard from anybody about instant replay. The only comments I get are when I call somebody on a bunch of subjects and we talk about it."
Selig said he's still working on details for the new postseason format.
"When you plan the playoff schedule, you don't know how many games the first round would go. So it's difficult," he explained. "There were clubs that sat around. Some were necessary, but some were not."
Starting in 2007, baseball added four extra days off during the postseason at the request of its television partners, shifting the World Series opener to Wednesday from Saturday, usually the lowest-rated night of the week.
The economic disparity between payrolls for some of the large-market teams -- such as the New York Yankees -- and smaller ones will always be an issue, Selig said.
A salary cap might bridge the disparity between the large-market and small-market teams, but Milwaukee Brewers owner Mark Attanasio said there are other ways to address competitive balance. Or imbalance.
"For example, by changing the draft," he said. "Pretty much in the other sports the best players go to the worst teams. That doesn't always seem to happen in our sport. I think if we can adjust things so that happens that would help."
At a meeting last week, general managers discussed factoring postseason performance into draft position, meaning the World Series winner would pick last. Drafting foreign players could also be a consideration, but that would be subject to collective bargaining.
"I don't know what the mechanics of that would be. Right now, really international is somewhat freeform," Attanasio added.
Under the current system, players outside the United States are not subject to the draft. They are free agents eligible to sign with any team.
Selig favors restructuring the draft, too.
"I've said it: We need a worldwide draft and we need a slotting system. There's no secret about that. It's fair," Selig reiterated.
Revenue sharing was discussed during committee meetings Wednesday.
On another subject, Selig said he's not worried about the ownership situation with the Los Angeles Dodgers that has become messy after Frank McCourt and his wife, Jamie McCourt, separated. After she was fired as the team's chief executive, Jamie McCourt filed for divorce and said she would like to buy the club.
"Look, the Dodgers are in good hands," Selig said. "There's no reason to get into any debate about what's going to happen. The Dodgers are going to be in L.A. for as long as any of us are alive and many generations after."
During a dinner Wednesday night, owners were to welcome Tom Ricketts and his family as new owners of the Chicago Cubs.
"Every franchise is different. Asset values are very important -- they're very important to me, they're very important to these 30 people," Selig said. "But the Cubs are a very, very unique franchise. I mean there's no question about it -- Wrigley Field and the Cubs and everything about it."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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