Selig, Costas discuss possible changes to game
Commissioner touches on realignment, replay, retirement
Commissioner Bud Selig sat down to speak with Bob Costas in an interview that aired Friday night on MLB Network, discussing the state of Major League Baseball -- including a few changes that could be coming soon.
Touching on a number of topics in the 30-minute interview, Selig fielded questions about division realignment, Interleague Play, the possible addition of two more Wild Card teams, the use of instant replay and the possibility of him retiring. Among the potential changes in store, the All-Star Game could be subject to a few tweaks as early as next year.
Selig said he was still happy with the All-Star Game deciding which league receives home-field advantage in the World Series, but he said MLB will do more to make sure they have better representation in 2012. There is also a chance the date of the Midsummer Classic will change -- possibly to a Wednesday instead of the usual second Tuesday in July -- in order to provide players more flexibility, whether that means allowing for more eligible pitchers or encouraging the chosen players to participate.
"We'll have some announcement after the first of the year. ... I will expect everybody to be there," Selig said. "The fact remains, it's still the best of the All-Star Games. ... We will do more for next year to make sure we have better representation."
The interview began with questions about MLB adding two more Wild Card teams. Selig said there has been no final decision yet, but the transition would likely take place in 2013, not next season. Selig said he didn't believe 10 playoff teams would be too many, though he did acknowledge that the proposed system would have removed much of the magic from the end of this year.
"However, you don't do things for one year," Selig said. "You do it for 20 years, 30 years. These are permanent changes.
"You can't keep expanding and expanding and expanding ... without adding something. You can't do that. It's not fair."
The changes being discussed could involve a playoff between the two Wild Card teams in each league, but Selig said the debate about whether that should be a one-game playoff or a best-of-three series remains "intense."
Selig said he won't get rid of the three divisions per league "under any circumstances." He pointed to the idea of a Wild Card playoff as proof that winning the division would still be rewarded come postseason time.
As for creating two 15-team leagues by moving the Astros to the American League West, Selig said it was being considered in order to rectify the "unfair" disparity of having six teams in the National League Central and four in the AL West. Selig said he was initially averse to that idea due to the potential of year-round Interleague Play, and aside from a few details that need to be worked out, it appears that will be the solution.
Selig spoke proudly about how baseball is being viewed by more people than ever before, and he acknowledged the postseason TV ratings are "always a concern" due to their inconsistency with the regular-season numbers, perhaps due to regional interests.
"Would I like to get the ratings up? Of course I would," he said. "This sport has never been this popular. We will get them up."
The Commissioner also discussed the following topics:
Instant replay: Selig said MLB will probably add more instant replay next year -- especially on fair/foul calls -- "but not much." He once again emphasized not disturbing the pace of the game.
Interleague Play: He said the number of Interleague games clubs play might be slightly reduced, and there could be a few variations to keep the competition fresh and relevant.
His retirement: The Commissioner has said that he plans to retire after the 2012 season and reiterated that in the interview.
"We'll let history take its course," he said.
Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.