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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Bud Selig Talks Instant Replay, Salary Caps and Playoff Expansion

As Major League Baseball took its all-star break, Commissioner Bud Selig had the chance to give his annual talk to the fans and touched on a few interesting topics when he answered questions live over the internet from Phoenix.

Selig said that MLB is looking into using more video replays to help umpires make the right calls and is also hoping to expand the playoffs to 10 teams. Other interesting news from Selig included the possibility of using designated hitters in NL parks for interleague games and that there won’t be a salary cap in the next collective bargaining agreement with the players’ union.

The commissioner said most baseball executives aren’t for more instant replays, but the league is looking into two changes to the current instant replay usage. He also said the netting which protects the fans behind home plate won’t be extended in the near future and there won’t be any rule changes designed to protect catchers because of the play in which San Francisco catcher Buster Posey had his leg broken win a plate collision earlier in the season. Selig was asked about realignment, but said that it’s not likely to happen in the foreseeable future.

Touching more on the instant replay topic, it’s only used now to determine if a home run actually went out of the park and if it was a fair or foul ball. However, some people feel video replay should also be used to decide if line drives are fair or foul and for close calls at home plate.

It was the 11th annual internet chat for Selig and he answered 17 questions that were submitted online as well as three more from fans who were in attendance at the Phoenix Convention Center. One of the questions dealt with the ownership situation of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Dodger owner Frank McCourt recently filed for bankruptcy and the league opposed it in a lawsuit. Selig said they’ll just have to wait until all of the court appearances have taken place to see how things turn out.

As for expanding the playoff teams, the last time it was done was back in 1994 when it was doubled from four to eight clubs. The four divisions back then were realigned into six divisions and two wild card playoff spots were added. The 1994 season was hit with a strike though and the new format didn’t come into play until 1995. Selig said there’s a 14-person committee which reviews all proposed changes to baseball and he feels that 10 playoff teams could eventually be approved, but it’s still being discussed.

Selig likes the way the designated hitter rule has panned out after it was brought in about 40 years ago. He said both leagues are happy with it, but it might end that the DH is used in NL parks in interleague action and the pitcher has to hit in the AL parks.

The proposed changes mentioned by the commissioner will all be discussed as the league and players association have already started talks on a new bargaining agreement. The current basic agreement runs out on Dec. 11. It appears there’s not going to be any type of salary cap in the new deal as Selig said the economics of the game are working well and he doesn’t think they  should be tampered with.

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