Major League Baseball is going to add one wild card to each league next season, which will give teams a better chance of making the playoffs.

Bud Selig, whom sports and political expert George Will has called “baseball’s greatest commissioner,” is right on target, but he does not go far enough.

The only teams that should not make the playoffs are the last place teams in each league and the team with the worst record among the teams that finish next to last.

The fans’ excitement would be almost indescribable. At the beginning of each season they would know that no matter how good or bad their team is, the chance of catching lightning in bottle after the regular season could lead to the World Series.

How would it work?

Teams would play 154 games during the season. This would please traditionalists, who might be slightly upset with the new playoff format.

Barry Bonds’ single-season home run record would never be broken, even if a player had the temerity to use performance enhancing substances.

Based on the 2010 American League standings, the Baltimore Orioles, Kansas City Royals, Seattle Mariners and Cleveland Indians would be eliminated from the playoffs.

This leaves 10 playoff teams. The first round would be a best of three series. The higher-finishing team would play the first and third games at home. The three division winners and the second place team with the best record would draw a bye.

The New York Yankees had the best record among second place finishers.

The third-place Boston Red Sox would play the fourth-place Toronto Blue Jays , the second-place Chicago White Sox would play the Detroit Tigers and the second-place Oakland A’s would play the third-place Anaheim Angels.

Let’s say the Red Sox, White Sox and A’s win their first playoff round.

Tampa Bay had the league’s best record. They draw the remaining bye. Hey, rest is good. Great teams don’t get rusty. Money is more important than excellence.

There would be a great incentive to finish with the league’s best record, so the players could have a brief vacation before getting back to baseball.

Anyway, the Yankees play the first-round winning team with the best record, which was Boston, the Minnesota Twins play the A’s and the Texas Rangers play the White Sox.

These are best-of-five series.

The Red Sox, A’s and Rangers win their second-round series to advance to the third round.

Tampa plays the A’s and the Red Sox play the Rangers in a best-of-seven series.

The winners play each other in a best-of-seven series. The winner gets a chance to win the World Series.

One issue which would cause great controversy would be playing the World Series in either Los Angeles, Arizona or Florida, for obvious reasons. However, since the World Series wouldn’t start until the middle of November, it might be a good idea.

The above are merely suggestions, but they are excellent suggestions that expand Mr. Selig’s creative idea to make the game even better.

What do you think?



George Will

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