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Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

Extra wild cards, expanded playoffs shelved

Major League Baseball’s plan to add two wild cards may be off the table for 2011, but is far from dead.

Wild-Card-logo-200In a recent post, I looked at two of the leading proposals for Major League Baseball to expand the playoffs. As Commissioner Bud Selig made the rounds at the end of last season, he was increasingly vocal in his support to add two wild cards, one per league.

Apparently that will not come to pass in 2011. Even Bud can’t make major changes to the game unless the owners and the Players Union are behind him.

The Chicago Tribune’s Phil Rogers, who has been on top of this story from the beginning, tweeted this:

“Expanded MLB playoffs will definitely not begin before 2012. Owners and players union are unwilling to pursue amending CBA for next year.”

The current collective bargaining agreement will expire on December 11, 2011. Preparing for the negotiations for the next CBA has reportedly been a major topic during this week’s General Manager Meetings in Orlando.

The AP reports there appears to be little opposition to the concept of the expanded playoffs in 2012, but that will still need to be negotiated into the CBA. There does not yet seem to be a preferred format for a wild card play-in round, whether one or three games or something else entirely.

In fact, Selig is now pondering expanding the aperture to four wild cards. Ed Price of Fanhouse tweeted the following, quoting the commissioner:

“Eight (playoff teams) is a very fair number, but so is 10.”

When the 2011 regular season schedule was announced, with its start a week earlier than in the past, some (including me) speculated it was done at least in part to accommodate the new wild cards.

Even though that won’t be the case, the new schedule guarantees (unless there are a large number of weather cancellations) that the World Series will be complete in October. That isn’t a bad thing.

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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