MLB Commissioner Bud Selig: Expanded Wild Card Format Was "Right Thing To Do"
In a Q&A with the L.A. TIMES' Bill Shaikin, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig said of the postseason's new Wild Card format, "I don't know how it could work out any better than this." Shaikin wrote, "The Fall Classic can wait. ... This is the classic fall." While the regular season “delivered meaning down to the final day,” the LDS “featured three walk-offs within 24 hours and -- for the first time -- all four series extended to the full five games.” Selig said, "It sort of reminds me of the first wild card. I knew it was the right thing to do, just like I knew about these two wild cards." Below is an excerpt of the Q&A.
Q: Under the new system, the retiring [Braves 3B] Chipper Jones and the two-time defending American League champion Texas Rangers were eliminated in one game. Any regrets?
Selig: No. When we started, I made the first decision: We are going to do it. Then I used my 14-man committee just for format: Do we do this two out of three? I sort of favored that, because I am cautious. You play all year. You worry all year about your team, and the weather and everything else for 162 games, and you're gone after one game. But, much to my surprise, the whole committee was for it. … I love the way it worked. … If you don't want to be in a one-game playoff, then win your division.
Q: You have been an advocate for new ballparks. In 2016, the year Angel Stadium turns 50, owner Arte Moreno can exercise an escape clause in his stadium lease. Do you believe the Angels need a new ballpark?
Selig: Does he? They have drawn great crowds. The franchise has been beyond spectacular. They would have to make that judgment.
Q: His marketing strategy has involved broadening the Angels' appeal beyond Anaheim -- and adding Los Angeles to their name. Could there be an advantage to considering a move to Los Angeles, or do you want them to stay in Orange County?
Selig: That is a judgment I cannot make. They have to make it. They live there. They understand the demographics. They understand where people are. You know your own market better than anyone else.
Q: You essentially forced out [former Dodgers Owner] Frank McCourt. Under the MLB Constitution, a franchise cannot be revoked unless the league delivers a list of grievances, affords the owner a hearing and submits the matter to a vote of the other owners. You did none of those things. Why not?
Selig: The way it got handled, it worked itself out very well. The result at the end justified all the things that led up to it.
Q: McCourt's last lifeline was a television contract with Fox that you rejected, in part because he intended to use $173.5 million for purposes unrelated to the team. You said television revenue belonged to the team and should remain invested in the team. Yet, when John Moores sold the San Diego Padres this year, you let him keep $200 million in revenue from a new television contract, one that was not approved until after he put the team up for sale. Is that not a double standard?
Selig: The San Diego thing was different. John Moores was going. A new group was coming in, with beautiful credentials. They found, in their projections, they could live with what had been done. And so they and John Moores worked that out. They knew what part of the sale price was. They felt that, even with that lack of television money, they could run a very good operation. They were themselves very well-financed. With what John Moores took out -- because he thought it was part of the sales price -- they feel there's enough other television revenue and enough other income that they can live with it.
Q: But why didn't you tell Moores that television money belongs to the team -- not to him -- and then let him sell the Padres for the best price he could get?
Selig: It didn't matter. It was part of the sale price. The buyer has to make that determination. They made the determination that they like the deal, even with that money gone (LATIMES.com, 10/13).
POSTSEASON PASSION: In N.Y., Joel Sherman wrote of the new playoff format, “Put me down as someone who loves it.” This year's postseason “looks like the regular season” (N.Y. POST, 10/14). Also in N.Y., Mike Lupica wrote, “Say it again, and again: There really has never been a week of baseball the likes of which we got this week” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/14). SI.com’s Tom Verducci wrote, “How in the world can our heart rates and sleep patterns hold up to this? It's the greatest postseason since 1986 and we have just begun the LCS” (SI.com, 10/14).