x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Baseball chief is against major changes but post-season teams may grow

Commissioner Selig is ambivalent about the idea of moving one team from the National League to the American League to give each league 15 teams.

PHOENIX // Bud Selig, the baseball commissioner, said he does not support proposals for a radical realignment to the major leagues that would eliminate divisions or make other major alterations.

He was also ambivalent about the idea of moving one team from the National League to the American League to give each league 15 teams.

"Is there massive realignment on the horizon? No there is not," he said before the All-Star Game on Tuesday.

"Would I go to 15 and 15? I don't know. ... You would then have to play inter-league play every day, obviously, and I like it the way it is."

Such a move would require that inter-league games - which drew 18.3 per cent more fans than other games - would have to be spread throughout the regular season.

The players' association is in favour of the change, with the Houston Astros appearing to be the most plausible candidate to switch leagues.

Earlier, Selig said that baseball might expand the number of teams able to qualify for the post-season.

"We only have eight of 30 teams [making the post-season]. That's the least number in [American] sports," Selig said.

"If we go to 10, that's 10 out of 30. Twenty go home. That's not too many. I can make a case for 10, no more than 10."

Selig said he felt expanding the number of teams making the play-offs by 25 per cent is fair but added that the league has not decided what length a play-off series between wild-card teams would be.

Selig, who has been commissioner since 1992, was asked if he was mindful of the current lockouts of players in the NFL and NBA given that baseball's collective bargaining agreement with its players expires in December.

"In my baseball career that started in 1970 we had eight work stoppages and one became more painful than the other," he said.

"Of the many things I'm proud of about my commissionership is that we've had 16 years of labour peace.

"I'm very sensitive to what's going on in the other sports. We've started our negotiations. It's been constructive, but it's early."

Selig said as part of the labour talks he was trying to set in place a draft of international players but did not foresee pushing for any bold economic changes.