Joe Torre, Lou Piniella, Cito Gaston Favor Bud Selig’s Proposed Playoff Expansion Plan


LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Among the items on the agenda for Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig this week in Florida is further exploration of expanding baseball’s postseason.

A committee will meet Tuesday to address the matter, which would install a second wild-card team in both leagues. The two wild cards would likely play in a one-game playoff before moving on to the second round, while the three division winners would wait. Under the proposal, based on their record, the Red Sox would have been the fifth team into the postseason in 2010, provided the plan allows for three teams from one division to get in.

If enacted, the initiative would not take place until 2012, in all likelihood.

Selig learned prior to the meeting that the idea has support from those accustomed to October baseball. Sitting at a news conference honoring retiring managers Joe Torre, Lou Piniella, Cito Gaston and Bobby Cox (Cox could not attend due to a family issue), he heard reaction to the plan from the ex-skippers.

“I think it’s a tremendous idea,” said Gaston, who guided Toronto to back-to-back World Series titles in 1992 and 1993.

Piniella agreed, and Torre, who won 13 division crowns as a manager, cited the lack of benefit to achieving that goal when a second-place team enters the postseason on the same plane.

“There is no negative to being a wild-card team,” Torre said. “Winning the division didn’t have as much importance as I thought it should.”

Torre’s New York Yankees lost three times to wild-card teams in the first round of the playoffs after winning the American League East, and fell to the wild card-winning Red Sox in the 2004 American League Championship Series.

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