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Scioscia and Torre named to panel to examine playoffs and other issues

Commissioner Bud Selig appoints 14-member committee to look at postseason schedule, pace of game, instant replay, umpiring, the strike zone and interleague play.

December 16, 2009|By Mike DiGiovanna
  • Angels Manager Mike Scioscia, left, and Dodgers Manager Joe Torre are part of a 14-member special committee that will gather for the first time in January.
Angels Manager Mike Scioscia, left, and Dodgers Manager Joe Torre are part… (Jeff Chiu / Associated Press )

Mike Scioscia will have ample opportunity in the coming months to enact change in baseball's postseason schedule, a format the Angels manager criticized heavily in October, as his team played nine playoff games in 21 days.

Scioscia, along with Dodgers Manager Joe Torre, was named by Commissioner Bud Selig on Tuesday to a 14-member special committee that will address on-field issues in the game.

In addition to playoff scheduling, Selig said on a conference call that the group will examine issues such as pace of game, instant replay, umpiring, the strike zone and interleague play.

The panel -- which includes St. Louis Manager Tony La Russa, Detroit Manager Jim Leyland, eight front-office executives, Hall of Famer Frank Robinson and political columnist George Will -- features about 450 years of baseball experience.

The committee will gather for the first time at the owners' meetings in Phoenix in January with a goal of generating recommendations that it can pass along to Selig for implementation.

"There are no sacred cows," Selig said. "Whatever they want to talk about, they will. . . . It's a very blunt group. That's the way it's supposed to be. They shouldn't be shy in any way. If there are things we can do to improve the game, we ought to start."

In conversations with Selig after the season, Scioscia expressed frustration with a playoff format that included three off days before the Angels opened the division series against the Red Sox, four off days before the American League Championship Series and an off day between Games 4 and 5 of the ALCS.

"I definitely think one day off, that Monday, should be the norm, and Tuesday, you get right into the division series, and then move forward from there," Scioscia said.

"And we definitely should tidy up some of the off days within a series.

"All that just breaks the continuity of what our sport is about. It's going out there and getting after it every day, so the depth of a team becomes much more important."

After a number of blown calls marred the playoffs this last season, critics called for expanded video review of umpires' calls. Some players pushed to expand the first round of the playoffs from five to seven games.

Both issues are expected to be discussed by Selig's panel, which includes team presidents Andy MacPhail (Baltimore), John Schuerholz (Atlanta), Chuck Armstrong (Seattle), Paul Beeston (Toronto), Bill DeWitt (St. Louis) and Dave Montgomery (Philadelphia), General Manager Mark Shapiro (Cleveland) and former GM Terry Ryan (Minnesota).

"I really feel good about this group's ability to discuss and come to conclusions that we can implement," Selig said. "Maybe in a year or two we will look back and realize just how important this was."

mike.digiovanna@latimes.com

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