I’ll take “Things to which I’m viscerally opposed for $500, Alex”
The new head of the players’ union says his members are open to adding more wild-card teams for 2012 and possibly extending the division series to a best-of-seven . . . There is sentiment among a substantial segment of the players to consider expanding the playoffs,” Weiner said Monday in an interview with The Associated Press ahead of his first World Series since replacing Donald Fehr as union head . . . “We have less teams than any other sport,” he said last month. “We certainly haven’t abused anything.”
Was anyone crying out for the Red Sox and Padres in this year’s playoffs? And that’s just if you add one wild card team. If you want to avoid a play-in thing — yay! Braves vs. Padres and yet another Yankees-Red Sox series! — you’d get the White Sox and the Cardinals. Great for White Sox and Cardinals fans, I suppose, but I think they each pretty much established over the course of 162 games that they did not earn the right to play anymore.
I’m all for making the current Division Series seven games, but adding more teams is a horrible idea. Less is more. Baseball’s regular season and its playoffs are better than the other sports specifically because they don’t let everyone and their fatally-flawed brothers in.
There is no competitive argument for adding playoff teams, and several against it. The only argument in favor of doing so is increased revenue. And while everyone wants increased revenue, that, in and of itself, is no basis for doing anything worth a damn.
Facing an elimination number of one, the Astros staved off elimination in the AL West by beating the Diamondbacks on Friday night by a 6-1 margin. The Rangers suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Angels on Saturday afternoon, which temporarily put the Astros’ fate in their own hands.
Colby Rasmus hit a pair of solo homers and Jose Altuve added a solo shot of his own. Starter Collin McHugh tossed seven innings of one-run ball, limiting the Diamondbacks to six hits and a walk with six strikeouts. Reliever Will Harris allowed a solo home run to Paul Goldschmidt in the eighth, but Luke Gregerson closed out the game with a scoreless ninth.
The Astros trail the Rangers by one game in the AL West and lead the Angels by one game for the second AL Wild Card slot. The Rangers can clinch the AL West on Sunday afternoon with a win or an Astros loss. The Astros can clinch the second AL Wild Card on Sunday afternoon with a win or an Angels loss.
The Yankees lost both ends of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Orioles and lead the Astros by only one game for the first AL Wild Card slot.
If the Astros win and the Rangers lose on Sunday, they will play an AL West tiebreaker in Texas. The winner will win the second AL Wild Card if the Yankees win on Sunday, or the first AL Wild Card if the Yankees lose on Sunday.
If the Astros lose and the Angels win on Sunday, the two teams will be tied for the second AL Wild Card. They would play a tiebreaker in Houston, and the winner would play the Yankees in New York in the Wild Card game.
Giants second baseman Kelby Tomlinson looked more like Ladainian Tomlinson the way he was running during Saturday afternoon’s game against the Rockies. In the first inning with one out against starter Chris Rusin, Tomlinson hit a fly ball into the right-center field gap at AT&T Park, a great place to go if you’re in the mood for an inside-the-park home run.
Neither Carlos Gonzalez nor Chris Dickerson could corral the ball before it rolled all the way to the 421-foot marker at the fence. Tomlinson motored around the bases, but Gonzalez made a strong throw into cut-off man D.J. LeMahieu, and LeMahieu made a great throw in to catcher Tom Murphy, but Tomlinson slid in safely just ahead of the tag.
It was an exciting play and the hit proved important as the Giants eked out a 3-2 win against the Rockies.