Baseball commissioner Bud Selig is willing to consider expanding the playoffs as early as next year.
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Speaking on Thursday before Game 2 of the World Series, Selig said a larger postseason might not have to wait for collective bargaining with the players’ association.
Union head Michael Weiner said earlier this week that any potential changes adding playoff teams wouldn’t be implemented until at least the 2012 season.
"Obviously, we have to talk to the union," Selig said. "These are all details we have to work out. While I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it, we have a lot of different opinions on the subject — how to do it, if to do it."
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 teams advance to the postseason.
In recent months, Selig has appeared increasingly open to adding more wild-card teams.
"We’ve got to work out a lot of detail, see what interest there is and why, and then we’ll take it to all of the constituencies," he said.
Weiner said his members are open to more playoff teams and to possibly extending the division series to a best-of-seven as part of negotiations on the labor contract to replace the one expiring Dec. 11, 2011.
Selig said expanding the first round would be difficult because of weather concerns — he mentioned how it had snowed in Minneapolis this week.
"We’ll look at everything," he said, "but look, I’m already concerned."
Also speaking before the game, Rangers president Nolan Ryan said he was in favor of eliminating the designated hitter in order to standardize rules between the leagues.
"It’s a big challenge with the players’ association because you would be taking a high-paid player off a team if you did away with the DH," the Hall of Fame pitcher said.
Selig said AL teams remained in favor of the DH and NL teams were against adding it. Changes to the DH are not on management’s collective-bargaining agenda.
"That is not in the long list of things that I have discussed with clubs," Selig said.
Selig said baseball will discuss adjustments to instant replay for umpires during the offseason. Given the lack of controversial calls in the World Series opener, he didn’t want to talk about it now.
"I don’t want to jinx anything," he said.
He spent part of Thursday meeting with baseball’s bankers, and told them the World Series matchup was a demonstration of the sport’s competitive balance.
"It is the most important manifestation of what we set out to do in the ’90s — create as much competitive balance as you can," he said. "When the San Francisco Giants are playing against the Texas Rangers, that says it all, and it’s great for baseball."