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BROWN: Why Expanded Playoffs in MLB Won’t Be Till 2012 PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Monday, 22 November 2010 00:00

Maury BrownBy all accounts, it appears that the addition of two more teams to MLB’s postseason will be coming in the near future. Commissioner Selig, speaking from last week’s quarterly owners meetings said the league "will move ahead" on discussions of the additional Wild Card teams. That discussion will take place as baseball’s Winter Meetings take place beginning 2 weeks from Monday when Selig’s 14-man advisory committee meets.

The league’s owners will have to approve the deal at the next set of meetings January 12-13, but if Selig – a consensus builder in every sense of the word – said that MLB will not only move on the topic, but quickly, he likely knows the outcome of any vote.

But, this matter is not only for the owners as clearly the players have something to say about it. Since chances of paring back on the 162 game schedule is not up for discussion, there will be more day-night double-headers coming to allow the addition of more postseason games to accommodate the additional playoff teams.

In other words, the issue has to be collectively bargained. With the current CBA set to expire in Dec of 2011, the timing is perfect.

For those asking why it needs to be collectively bargained, there are multiple reasons. The additional double-headers has already been mentioned, but there are others.

Here’s one example: How will the postseason players’ pool now be split?

For those that may not follow this matter, players are guaranteed a percentage of the gate receipts for the postseason, and a guaranteed pool size. 

That would make sense, right? But, also players in the 4 non-Wild Card second place teams get a cut, as well. When you add in two new postseason clubs, this section of the CBA will need tweaking. Here’s how the current CBA defines how  the players’ pool shall be distributed to the players, by club:

  • World Series Winner - 36%
  • World Series Loser - 24%
  • League Championship Series Losers (2) - 24%
  • Division Series Losers (4) - 12%
  • Non-Wild Card Second Place Teams (4) - 4%

So, adding in two more wild card teams will alter the equation. The pool money will increase, but how the percentages play out will change. It’s a "small thing" on the face of it, but it is, none the less, a reason why expanded playoffs for MLB won’t be coming until 2012.

And, this is just one matter to address. There will be others. The point is, it’s a logistical matter that requires input from the players and memorialized in the Basic Agreement.

Oh, for those that are wondering when the players in the postseason get their shares, the current CBA adds that, “Distribution of the Players’ pool shall be made to the Players within 30 days after the completion of the World Series, unless for good cause the Parties agree to extend the period.” That means, we should be getting an announcement -- possibly during the Winter Meetings -- on what the World Series shares were for the 2010 postseason.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, as well as a contributor to FanGraphs and Forbes SportsMoney. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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