Tim Lincecum leads revamp's opposition
It's not just his West Coast mindset that has Tim Lincecum seeing red when it comes to baseball's looming postseason revamp.
A slugger from the East agrees.
The New York Yankees are among the teams that would be hurt from the change that would push the number of postseason teams in baseball to 10 and would grant division winners several days rest amid a short wild-card series.
Or so says Mark Teixeira.
It doesn't seem very fair, and personally I don't know where his head is at.” -- Giants ace Tim Lincecum,
on Bud Selig and his push
toward an expanded postseason
But Lincecum's train of thought follows Teixeira's in lock step.
"It doesn't seem very fair, and personally I don't know where his head is at," Lincecum said Friday of commissioner Bud Selig, who confirmed Thursday that the league was moving toward an expanded postseason, with details still to be worked out.
"It doesn't seem right to me," Lincecum said, according to the Contra Costa Times.
Teixeira said once the regular season is over and done, all things should be equal.
"For a team like us, I don't like it," Teixeira said, according to the New York Daily News. "We battle all year long in a very tough division; if you win the division and have to have five or six days off before the start of the playoffs, or you win the wild card and still have to play another one- or three-game series just to get into the playoffs, it doesn't make much sense."
Since 1995, eight of the 30 baseball teams have made the playoffs. In the NFL, 12 of 32 teams make the playoffs. In the NBA and NHL, 16 of 30 advance to the postseason.
But in the new MLB format, two wild cards in each league would meet, and the winners would advance to the next round against division winners.
"Players like it the way it is," Lincecum bristled. "It's dog-eat-dog. People know they need to win 11 games to win the World Series.
"Nobody wants to have to worry, 'Oh [expletive], now I've got another [expletive] team in the [expletive] mix. Now we have to worry about what that takes and what they're going to do.' What if the [second] wild-card team is not deserving of getting in?"
Discussions have taken place as part of collective bargaining for a labor deal to replace the one that expires in December.
But why fix what's not broken when it comes to the playoffs, Lincecum said.
"Personally I think it's kind of funky, just because the game has been this way for so long," Lincecum said Friday, before the Giants' series opener against the Atlanta Braves. "Why mess it up, other than for monetary purposes, and that's probably what [Selig] is looking at. That's like, 'OK, don't worry about us as human beings or players.'''
Giants catcher Buster Posey said baseball is in a singular position to better reveal the best teams as they have more time to rise to the top.
"I don't really like it. I like the format now," the 2010 NL rookie of the year said, according to the Bay Area newspaper. "Baseball is unique because it's such a long season. The best teams are rewarded for all the effort that goes into that. You lose some of the mystique of the playoffs [with expansion]. Like the first round of the NBA playoffs -- who cares?"
But with a day to ruminate on Selig's comments, managers were towing the company line.
"It will create more interest with more teams, and that's good for baseball," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said, according to the Contra Costa Times. "But I'll have to sit and reflect on that."
Yankees manager Joe Girardi tempered his enthusiasm for the punctuated evolution, saying the wild-card series should be three games or less or it could penalize division winners.
Do it 'American Idol' style. If they want to keep it, then keep a few games in interleague, but it has to be fair for everybody.” -- Yankees slugger Mark Teixeira,
on the idea of a fan vote
"I think that makes it a lot different," Girardi said, according to the Daily News. "I think that is a much bigger carrot and a much bigger disadvantage for a wild-card team."
The fans' desire is the X-factor driving the move, according to Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland.
"I think it will be good for baseball," Leyland said. "To me, baseball is like any other business: You try to give your customers what they want."
Teixeira said he has the ultimate answer to improving baseball's completive lag, and it doesn't involve tinkering with the playoffs.
"The only thing I would do is take the current system and go back to a balanced schedule," Teixeira said. "It's unfair for those in good, deep divisions."
Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter echoed Teixeira's push toward taking a step back.
"It would be better if you went back to the old schedule and there weren't 19 games against the teams in your divisions," said Jeter, who told the Daily News he would also change the first round to a best-of-seven. "If everybody plays the same teams the same number of times, the wild card would be more effective."
And if their brainchild comes at the expense of interleague play, that is more than OK with Teixeira and Jeter, though there's room for compromise on that, too.
"If the fans like interleague and they want to keep it, let the fans vote," Teixeira said. "Do it 'American Idol' style. If they want to keep it, then keep a few games in interleague, but it has to be fair for everybody."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.