SBD/Issue 154/Leagues & Governing Bodies

MLB: Players Want More Playoff Teams; Games Faster

Some Players Want More Playoff Teams

Some players want to "increase the number of wild-card teams in the playoffs" and "recognize the importance of regular-season records by making them meaningful for the postseason," according to Murray Chass of the N.Y. TIMES. MLB "will almost certainly add wild cards to the playoffs in the near future" as the owners "would not reject any idea that would raise their revenues." Teams would be "seeded by record, but wild-card teams could not be seeded above division champions. The two division champions with the best records would not play in the first round." Selig: "It is time to very carefully and thoughtfully review a myriad of suggestions that have been made, and we will do that. We'll consider everything" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/6).

OUT OF BALANCE: ESPN.com's Peter Gammons writes that the Blue Jays are "pushing for MLB to return to a balanced schedule, which evens out the playing field for small-market teams playing in divisions dominated by big-market clubs." Almost "everyone wanted the unbalanced schedule, but it has its drawbacks, including making the schedule a major part of won-lost percentage and hence the wild-card races" (ESPN.com, 5/5).

THE NEED FOR SPEED: In Ft. Lauderdale, Mike Berardino reported that, entering last weekend, that the average time of a MLB game was 2 hours, 46 minutes. That compares to 2:58 in '00; 2:54 in '01 and 2:52 last year. MLB Exec VP/Baseball Operations Sandy Alderson: "It's like anything else. It's a nice idea to speed up the game, but to implement it you've got to go through something that's systematic and is consistently applied. It's in the details" (Ft. Lauderdale SUN-SENTINEL, 5/4).

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