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01/11/11 10:00 AM EST
Selig: No expansion of playoffs, replay this year
By Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com
PARADISE VALLEY, Ariz. -- As owners and general managers prepared to gather this week for their first meetings of the new year, Commissioner Bud Selig told MLB.com that the playoffs and instant replay won't be expanded this coming season.
Though both issues are being discussed at the committee level, there is insufficient time to implement any changes prior to the March 31 start of the regular season.
"There continues to be fruitful talks about it, but they're definitely off the table for this year," Selig said when reached by phone on Monday at his office in Milwaukee. "Really, I think that's what we've been saying all along."
In regard to expanding the postseason, Selig said: "We couldn't do that for '11. The schedules are already done. But we're making good progress." Replay? "It's still under discussion, but there's nothing new," he added.
Both subjects will certainly receive attention this week when the owners gather in committee on Wednesday and in a joint session with the GMs on Thursday morning at The Sanctuary, a hotel owned and operated by Bob Castellini, the Reds president and chief executive. The GMs are scheduled to meet with Selig on Wednesday and Selig's 14-member special committee addressing on-field issues will gather on Thursday afternoon.
The committee includes four managers: Jim Leyland of the Tigers, Tony La Russa of the Cardinals, Mike Scioscia of the Angels and the recently retired Joe Torre.
Torre is being considered by Selig to fill the role of Major League Baseball's executive vice president of baseball operations. The Commissioner said the process is "ongoing."
This week, labor issues will be on the agenda as collective bargaining with the Players Association for a new Basic Agreement is expected to begin later this year. The current five-year agreement expires on Dec. 11. Any change in the current three-tiered playoff system must be collectively bargained with the union.
After the GMs and owners met in November, there seemed to be universal agreement that two more Wild Card teams should be added to the playoff mix, increasing to 10 the number of teams that would qualify for the postseason. But the length of the first round -- whether it be a single play-in game or a best-of-three series -- and how to fit it into the schedule is still to be determined.
"We'll figure that all out in strategy," Selig said. "We need to decide what we want to do and then discuss it with [the union]."
Michael Weiner, the executive director of the union, said there is sentiment among the players for expanding the playoffs in some way, but the nuances need to be determined in collective bargaining.
"It's our sense that the most productive way to proceed on this topic would be for the parties to engage in discussions before settling on any specific proposals," said Weiner, who judged the temperature of the players at the union's annual executive board meeting last month. "We considered many different scenarios -- both changes and the status quo. The discussion covered all of the factors involved with scheduling, mainly competitive considerations, revenue generation and demands on players. We look forward to engaging in discussions with the owners on these topics."
The use of replay and the possible expansion of it was a subject of debate last year.
"We've really had some very interesting discussions," Selig said.