Reinsdorf weighs in on realignment, playoffs

I recently filed a column to MLB.com on why it would be best to make it a best-of-three series instead of a one-game playoff between the two Wild Card entrants in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, which is expected to be announced early next week. But I wanted to share some of what Jerry Reinsdorf told me in a recent phone interview. In addition to being the White Sox’s chairman, Reinsdorf (pictured by The Associated Press) serves on Selig’s 14-person special committee, which on Thursday announced plans to move the Astros to the American League West, thus creating six five-team divisions and paving the way for an additional Wild Card team in each league — though the tentative plan is for the two Wild Card teams to face off in a one-game playoff to see who advances to the current three-tiered playoff system.

On his overall thoughts about the playoff expansion …

“I can tell you why I voted for it. A couple of reasons. One reason — and I’m not sure what the order is, but one reason is, as it presently stands now, there is very little advantage to winning division as opposed to the Wild Card. The only disadvantage is you’re not going to get home-field advantage in the Division Series or League Championship Series. And in baseball, home field has the least importance of any sport. By creating the second WC team, basically it’s a one-and-done; the two Wild Card teams are going  to have to go with their best available pitchers. So that’s going to pout them at a little disadvantage. So that was one reason. I really wanted there to be a premium on winning the division. This year, [former Red Sox manager] Terry Francona said it didn’t matter if they were the Wild Card team or if they won the division. Now we really have put a premium on winning the division. So if you’re the Wild Card team, you run the risk of being out in one game.”

On making it a one-game playoff instead of a best-of-three …

“Because first of all, you lengthen the postseason. Whatever team is going to be playing the Wild Card team would have to sit around for at least an extra three days, and the layoff is a bad thing. … You don’t want to push the World Series into November, and you don’t want to ask the division-winning teams to sit around. And one-and-done games are really exciting. It generates an awful lot of fan interest. When we played the Twins in ’08, and they played the Tigers in ’09 when they were tied for the division lead, it got great ratings and was really exciting. But the main reason in my mind is not to put division winners at a disadvantage of sitting around for three days.”

On the regular-season schedule …

“That’s another thing I like about the realignment, is having two leagues with 15 teams in each league and all divisions have five teams. So when you go to Interleague Play, every team will be playing same the same games in Interleague Play. When we play the NL Central, every team in the AL Central will play every team in the NL Central. Before, that wasn’t the case. We’d all be playing different teams. So I like that. … I like the fact that we’ll be playing the same NL team as the Twins and Royals, plus the natural rival. But I haven’t seen a final schedule for how it’s going to work out. …I don’t like the idea of a balanced schedule. If you have that, then what’s the point of separate divisions?”

Alden

* Also filed this week: Why it may be in the Mets’ best interest to keep David Wright; and why hiring Mike Matheny as manager isn’t worth the risk for the Cardinals.

2 Comments

Pingback: New arrivals « MLB.com Blogs Central

Should be fun to see how all of this pans out.

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