By Josh Kramer
It is just past 11:30PM on July 9th of 2002. All eyes are focused on one-year-old Miller Park in Milwaukee. The 73rd edition of the Midsummer Classic (MLB All Star Game) is tied 7 to 7 in the 11th inning. Both AL Manager Joe Torre and NL Manager Bob Brenly are facing a sharp dilemma. Torre has already used nine pitchers, while Brenly has used ten. This game has dragged on far longer than anyone could have ever imagined. Plus, neither manager wants to be put into an awkward position and have to utilize a pitcher that they were not supposed to use, or dare I say a positional player to pitch. Bud Selig meets with the managers and umpires. What should Commissioner Selig do?
Game over at 11:35PM. The 2002 All Star Game ends in a tie.
When this fiasco occurred over 9.5 years ago, the majority of baseball fans across the country were not happy campers. How could a baseball game end in a tie like that? Well once again, Commissioner Selig is making headlines for a decision or lack thereof for that matter. We are less than three weeks away from spring training (get excited), and the playoff format for this season has not been finalized. This in large part is due to Commissioner Selig trying to rush the process, and implement the new format a year earlier than planned. Could the players seriously head to spring training not knowing how many teams from each League could potentially advance to the postseason (4 or 5 from each League)?
Stealing a quote from the famous baseball movie called “Angels in the Outfield,” “It could happen.” I normally try to refrain from being a major critic of those in high-profile positions. If I do not have a solution to the problem, I typically remain quiet. What President Obama does is no easy task, and he deals with his fair share of criticism. Similar to the President, the Commissioner of a major professional sports league also deals with their fair share of critics. This current situation the MLB finds itself in is an absolute embarrassment and extremely unnecessary in my opinion. I have given up trying to understand Bud Selig. And yes I am well aware the guy has already signed an extension through 2014. The much maligned 77-year-old Commissioner, who has been running the “Show” since September of 1992 has quite the situation on his hands.
To expand or not to expand? That is the question. Now the dilemma is not even whether the expansion is a good or bad idea on this day. I personally am fine with the way the current MLB Playoff format is set up, but I do see some pros to Selig’s new idea. Everything always comes back to the benajmins, and this expanded playoff format would seemingly make the MLB more money. Here is the bare bones to the new playoff format idea.
-10 teams rather than 8 (additional Wild Card team from each League).
-One-game playoff between the two Wild Card teams in each League.
-Normal three-tiered postseason that we are used to following the one-game playoff between the Wild Card teams.
Today though, my problem is not with Selig’s idea. That has been discussed and will continue to be debated. It is with the current situation we find ourselves in. A deadline of March 1st has been set to make a decision on how the 2012 MLB Playoffs will be conducted. Well here is a piece of advice. Have a decision before February 18th when pitchers and catchers begin reporting.
Teams utilize spring training not only to get into shape and set their rosters, but also to come up with their team goals. Yes, professional baseball teams set team goals. I know many of you think that team unity is lost on these guys, but it isn’t. They go to battle together for at least 162 games over a six month period. It is safe to say that these players develop some sort of bond throughout the course of the season. I do not think it is fair to the teams if no definitive playoff format is set before players begin reporting.
Just my take. If this fiasco goes until March 1st, Bud Selig would be highly deserving of making an appearance on the “C’mon Man” segment of Monday Night Football.
On the bright side though, at least we are not dealing with collective bargaining agreement issue..
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.