December 2, 2022

Baseball union chief likes what he sees of the new playoff format

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This World Series could be infuriating to Dodgers fans. The National League is represented by the Philadelphia Phillies, a team that has won 24 games less than the Dodgers. The Phillies are a third-place team that clinched something that didn’t exist last year: the 12th and final playoff spot.

“I don’t see it as a third-place team,” said the union chief Tony Clark said Friday. “I see it as two of the best baseball playing teams that made the playoffs are playing in the World Series.”

If the Phillies win the World Series, their 87 regular-season wins wouldn’t be the minimum for a full-season champion. The 2006 St. Louis Cardinals won 83 games and then won the World Series.

As part of the new collective bargaining agreement, the union and owners agreed to expand the postseason field from 10 teams to 12. The union resisted the owners’ request for 14 teams.

The owners resisted the union’s demand to reseed after the wildcard round and a seven-game divisional series, a format that would have meant the Dodgers would face the Phillies instead of the San Diego Padres.

Commissioner Rob Manfred said he still believed in the merit of a 14-team field. Clark said the union would consider all proposals, but suggested more teams could jeopardize what he called “the sanctity of making the playoffs” and “the integrity of the regular season.”

Clark said: “Right now, 12 is about all we’re looking to do.”

What would Clark say to Dodgers fans frustrated with the new playoff format?

“I think any baseball fan knows that the ball sometimes bounces in a funny way, whether it’s a short or a long series,” he said. “Obviously the baseball that was played this year in Los Angeles was amazing. The ball bounced in a fun way for them in the playoffs.

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