Commissioner Bud Selig remains confident that baseball will eventually expand its postseason from the current eight teams to 10. However, he acknowledges it isn’t likely that the new plan can be in place for the 2012 season.
Asked during a session with the media prior to Monday’s NLCS game in Milwaukee how he felt about people pushing for adding teams to the postseason, Selig smiled.
"Since I’m the guy I don’t want to be too critical of me,’’ he said. "I think 10 of 30 (teams advancing) is fair. I have a 14-man committee and the vote has been 14-0.’’
Any change would have to be approved by the Major League Baseball Players Association, which currently is renegotiating its basic agreement with baseball. Given the logistical issues, and the fact next year’s schedule already is released, Selig indicated implementation of a new playoff system next year is not likely, but did not rule it out.
In an open question-and-answer session he also addressed:
- The fact none of the teams with the top nine payrolls made it into an LCS.
"Way back when I started (as commissioner) in 1992, the object was to provide hope and faith,’’ Selig said. "I really regard my job is to provide as much hope and faith in as many places as possible. believe the sport is as healthy as it has ever been. … Detroit, Texas, Milwaukee and St. Louis (in the LCS) is the manifestation of that. I think that having different clubs is not bad at all. I’m proud of it.’’
- Memories of the 1982 World Series, which featured the two teams in this year's NLCS, as St. Louis beat Selig's Milwaukee team.
"Not that I’m a poor loser, but it’s 29 years later and if we had (injured closer Rollie) Fingers, we win,’’ Selig said. "We won the first of that Series 10-0. I thought to myself, `Boy we’re good.’ But Whitey (Herzog, St. Louis manager) did a great job, although, to Whitey’s credit, when I saw him at Cooperstown last year he said, `You’re right. If you had Fingers, it might have been different.’’’
- Current negotiations with the MLBPA on a basic agreement.
"They have quiet, thoughtful and constructive talks,’’ Selig said. "I give a lot of credit to both parties. They are far different from the labor negotiations in the '70s, '80s and '90s. Those were awful. I remember saying they were not helpful and healthy for the game.’’
- Success of the Brewers, which began as the Seattle Pilots and were purchased after their inaugural season of 1969 by a group headed by Selig, and moved to Milwaukee to replace the Braves.
"I tell everybody I am netural,’’ he said with a smile. "What it has produced in me is a lot of history. I was a kid of 29 when I started trying to get a team back when the Braves left. You have no idea how difficult that was.’’
Selig said he failed in efforts to land expansion teams in 1969, and had an effort to buy the Chicago White Sox fall through. Even the move to buy Seattle was a challenge because then-Commissioner Bowie Kuhn wanted the team to stay in Seattle. However, a bankruptcy court opened the door for Selig, whose purchase of the Brewers for the 1970 season wasn’t finalized until "March 31 that year at 10:15 at night.’’
- A one-on-one meeting he had last week with Jim Crane, who is seeking approval of his offer to buy Houston.
"I thought the meeting was constructive,’’ Selig said. "It was the first time he and I spent any time together.’’
- The viability of the Mets ownership.
"I don’t have concerns,’’ Selig said. "I talked with Fred (Wilpon) and he feels good about it. They seem to be moving along in a good pattern.’’
- The legal battles over Frank McCourt’s continuing to own the Los Angeles Dodgers.
"It’s been a difficult situation,’’ he said. "So far we have done well in court.’’
- On the designated hitter.
"I am the only one left in the American League now — shows you how old I am — who in December of 1972 voted for Charlie Finley and the designated hitter," Selig said. "The only thing I want to add, so I put history in its perspective, it’s the only thing of Finley’s that I voted for. I voted no on 882 other things. It killed me to vote for it. Dick O’Connell of the Boston Red Sox convinced me to do it because we needed more offense.
"Bill Giles of the Phillies, who’s been in the sport a long time and is not a controversial guy, says to me, 'I like a little controversy between the leagues. … The National League guys don’t like it. The American League does,' and that doesn’t bother me at all.’’