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Angels Manager Mike Scioscia supports expanding baseball's playoff field

Scioscia says expanding the field from eight to 10 teams would create opportunities for more teams with terrific regular seasons to make the postseason. He says it is good for baseball.

May 16, 2011|By Kevin Baxter
  • Angels Manager Mike Scioscia might not agree with home plate umpire Dan Bellino during a game against the Chicago White Sox but he agrees with the idea that the baseball playoffs should be expanded.
Angels Manager Mike Scioscia might not agree with home plate umpire Dan… (Stephen Dunn / Getty Images )

Reporting from Oakland

Angels Manager Mike Scioscia said Monday that expanding baseball's playoff field from eight to 10 teams would create excitement without watering down the postseason or diminishing the importance of the regular season.

"I think it creates a lot of opportunity for teams that have terrific seasons, that really are playoff-caliber clubs, to get into the playoffs," he said. "It just opens up opportunity after 162 games for teams to get into the dance.

"It's good for baseball, good for teams, good for organizations."

Commissioner Bud Selig has proposed adding an additional wild-card team to the playoffs in each league, perhaps as early as next season.

"We're moving there, but we have details to work out and the details are difficult," Selig said during a Sunday interview on TBS. "But I'm very confident that we're moving inevitably."

Selig also revealed during the interview that his 14-member committee on on-field matters voted unanimously in favor of expanded playoffs. Scioscia, who is a member of the committee, confirmed that Monday.

The format Scioscia favors would have three division champions and two wild-card teams in each league advancing to the postseason. The two wild-card teams would then meet in a one-game elimination match, with the winners advancing to best-of-five divisional playoffs, followed by best-of-seven league championship series.

"You definitely do not want to get into a situation where there's nothing to play for at the end of the season," Scioscia said. "If you add one team, there's always going to be something for every team to play for, whether it's home-field advantage if you have [the division] clinched. It gives value to clinching early [so] your starting rotation can be realigned.

"There's a lot of positives in there."

Scioscia pointed to a recent four-year stretch in which five American League teams won 91 or more games but failed to reach the postseason.

"There's always two, three teams every year that you say, 'wow, man, they had a great year' but they didn't quite have enough to get to the 93 wins it was going to take to make the playoffs. Or 95 wins," he said.

"It gives that team a chance to move forward and get into the playoffs and get some momentum and play well and have a chance. Out of 30 teams you're talking about, instead of eight teams, 10 teams making the playoffs. I don't think that diminishes what that 162 is about."

However, Scioscia did express skepticism that a new playoff format could be ready in time for next season, which is expected to be Selig's last as commissioner. For example, the players' union has yet to sign off on the plan, which is being discussed as part of the negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement.

Baseball's current CBA with its union expires in December.

"Stuff moves slowly in baseball," Scioscia said. "I don't know."

Morales surgery

The second surgery to repair Kendrys Morales' damaged left ankle has been scheduled for May 26. That's three days shy of the first anniversary of the day Morales shattered the ankle jumping on home plate following a game-winning grand slam.

Morales had repeated setbacks trying to rehabilitate the ankle this spring before deciding to have a second operation to clean out scar tissue and remove degenerative cysts that have formed in the ankle.

The procedure will be performed in Vail, Colo., by Dr. Thomas Clanton. Team orthopedist Lewis Yocum said the recovery time from this type of surgery is at least six months.

Everything in order

With Bobby Wilson making his third start behind the plate and Howie Kendrick his fifth in left field, the lineup Scioscia wrote out Monday marked the 33rd batting order he has tried in 42 games.

The Angels used 133 lineups last season.

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