…So Let Us Begin. —
Wild Cards, Realignment and More Interleague Ahead
(Pieces Of The Article) By RICK GANO, AP Sports Writer —
MILWAUKEE (AP)—Baseball will be making major changes in the next two years — adding two teams to the playoffs, moving the Houston Astros to the American League and extending interleague play to September.
The expanded playoffs could come as early as next year. That will put 10 teams in the postseason, requiring a new wild-card playoff round that probably will be one game, winner take all.
The altered playoff structure is subject to an agreement on a new labor contract with the players’ association, which is expected before the current deal expires Dec. 11.
“We believe after a lot of study and a lot of thought that the addition of two wild cards will really help us in the long run,” said Commissioner Bud Selig, who called it a “historical” morning.
Baseball began its playoff system in 1969 and doubled the playoff teams to eight in 1994, a change delayed one year by a strike. This change will put one-third of the baseball’s 30 teams in the postseason. In the NFL, 12 of 32 teams make the playoffs. In the NBA and NHL, 16 of 30 teams advance.
Selig acknowledged that additional wild-card teams would have eliminated the drama on the final night of this season, when Tampa Bay overtook Boston and St. Louis moved past Atlanta.
“You don’t do things for one year. You do things for a long period of time,” Selig said. … —
(Full-Article Here: http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=ap-owners )
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Two More Wild Cards Will Not Cheapen Winning the Pennant and World Series
(Pieces Of The Article) By Harold Friend, (Senior Writer) Bleacher Report —
Purists believe that the last “real” baseball season was played in 1968. Ultra-purists (never heard that term before) are convinced that 1960 was the last “real” American League season and 1961 was the final “real” National League season.
From 1903-60 each league consisted of eight teams. In 1961, two teams were added to the American League. The following year, two teams were added to the National League.
Ten-team leagues produced too many losers. There were nine teams in each league that lost. Two winners and 18 losers is unacceptable.
In 1969, each league expanded to 12 teams and was split into two divisions. The winners of each division faced each other in a best-of-five playoff series.
The team with the best record in each league was no longer guaranteed to play in the World Series.
In 2012, it is a virtual certainty that each league will have three division winners and two Wild-Cards. 10 of the 30 teams will have a chance to become World Champions, meaning that there will be only 20 losers. One-third of the teams will be “winners.” Don’t tell that to the New York Yankees.
Purists work off the premise that because so many teams will make the playoffs, the chances increase that the World Champion will not be the best team. According to them, the World Series winner used to be the best team most of the time.
Well purists, that is far from reality.
From 1903-1968, not including 1904 when there was no World Series, the team with the best record in the major leagues has won the World Series 34 times. The team with the best record lost 29 times. Teams that met for the World Championship had the same league record three times. … —
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Gibson, Maddon Win Managers of Year; La Russa 3rd
(Pieces Of The Article) By BEN WALKER, AP Baseball Writer —
NEW YORK (AP) – Moments after his team lost a day-night doubleheader at Yankee Stadium in late September, Joe Maddon wandered into the Tampa Bay Clubhouse.
The twin defeats left the Rays in a precarious position with only a week remaining in the regular season. Rather than raise his voice, Maddon delivered a simple message.
“You guys are great,” Maddon recalled telling them, “and I know you can still do this.”
Eternally optimistic, Maddon won the AL Manager of the Year award Wednesday. He certainly clinched the honor in the last month, when Tampa Bay overcame a nine-game deficit and trumped Boston for the wild-card spot.
Kirk Gibson, meanwhile, took a more stern approach starting in spring training. He even brought three Navy SEALs to camp.
The SEALs wrote D, W and I on a board. The letters stood for a sense of purpose, not a traffic offense: “Deal With It.”
“They bought into it,” said Gibson, voted the NL Manager of the Year after the guiding the Arizona Diamondbacks to a worst-to-first finish.
Gibson was a clear choice for guiding the Diamondbacks to a runaway NL West title. A former MVP as a rough-and-tumble outfielder, he was honored in his first full season as a big league manager.
“I certainly had a vision,” Gibson said during a conference call while on vacation in northern Michigan, adding, “It’s certainly not all because of me.”
Maddon was an easy pick in winning the AL award for the second time. The Rays made the biggest September rally in baseball history for a team that claimed a playoff berth, sealing it on the final day of the regular season.
“I like to think of it as a validation of the Rays’ way of doing things,” Maddon said of the award during a conference call while visiting family and friends in Hazleton, Pa.
Maddon led Tampa Bay to the playoffs for the third time in four years. After that, his name popped up in speculation about managerial openings with Boston, the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis. The Cardinals have already hired Mike Matheny.
“I don’t want to have to go anywhere else,” Maddon said. … —
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Of ALL These Current Stories…
…The Kirk Gibson Portion Was The Best Individual Portion For Me.
As A Child Of The 1980s…
…”Gibby” Was A STUD.
Loved Watching Him In Detroit…
…and Who Can Forget His Game 1 Homer in The 1988 World Series?!?!!!
No-One’s Forgotten It.
It’s Become One Of Those “Iconic-Baseball-Moments”…
… That People Have Talked About Since.
Just To Make a Quickie Point…
…I Loved “Gibby”…
…but I Always HAVE and Always WILL Hate THE DODGERS.
I Rooted For The Oakland A’s To Win The Series in 1988, 1989 AND 1990.
They LOST to “Gibby” and His L.A. Dodgers in ’88.
They BEAT The San Francisco Giants in the ’89 “Earthquake Series.”
Then They Were SWEPT-UP By The Cincinnati Reds in ’90.
BUT BUT BUT BUT…
…The Best Part About Kirk Gibson being The Manager in Arizona…
…is Who He’s Surrounded By:
His 3rd-Base Coach?
His Hitting Coach?
His Pitching Coach?
His Bench Coach?
If I WERE A Fan Of The Arizona Diamondbacks, You Ask???
…I’d Sure Be HAPPY AS HELL With The Captain And Crew Running The Show From The Dugout.