NEW YORK - Citing his strong respect for the history of the game, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig announced today a bold new playoff plan for the 2012 post-season. The playoffs will begin with a series of one-inning matchups destined to produce the most exciting October in memory.
"Fans have told us for years that baseball's regular season is too meaningful. Now, we're ready to act," Selig said. "Other than preventing Mark Cuban from owning a team, clearly this is the number one priority of the fans, and I respect that."
In the bold plan that many of baseball's inner circle, including Joe Torre and George Will are calling "visionary" ten teams from each league will make the playoffs. The top two teams, based on record (or maybe they have to be division winners, it isn't clear) will receive a bye. The remaining eight teams will play of series of one-inning matchups, to be held annually at Miller Park in Milwaukee.
These one inning matchups will be played, bracket-style, one after the other, on the same day until a single team emerges victorious. Then, a day later, that team will play a full, one-game, playoff against the second seed in the league.The winner of that one-game playoff will then play the team with the best record in the league in a seven game series.
Selig explained his new plan under a banner that read MLB Madness and pictured a holographic image of Jackie Robinson, Tony La Russa, Babe Ruth, Ken Burns, and Spiderman negotiating a labyrinth.
"We saw this fall that the current system is miserably broken," Selig said. "We looked at what we had, including unbalanced schedules, uneven divisions, leagues of different sizes, etc. And sought more ways to make the entire process arbitrary. Our daily, 162-game season is unique in sports, so we had to look at ways to tear it down."
Under 2012's rules, the current AL playoffs would feature the following: a double-bye for the Yankees and a first round bye for the Rangers. Detroit (3) and Oakland (10) would open the one-inning madness, followed by matchups featuring TB (4) and Chicago (9), Bos (5) and Cle (8) and a thrilling 6-7 matchup between the Angels and Blue Jays.
Royal manager Ned Yost believes the move will be good for small market teams, "I like our chances in convoluted, confusing, and complicated setup as good as anyone's. Can you imagine Tim Collins in this situation? Lights out!"
"Can you imagine that final race between the Royals and the A's for the 10th spot?" asked Yost. "Insanity!"
"Everyone loves the NCAA Tournament for the fun of filling out a bracket. Now, with one-inning games we can appeal to those who want shorter games, facilitate gambling pools more easily, and insert more randomness into our playoffs," Selig argued.