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Selig's bid for drama means higher seeds open on road

These are golden times for Bay Area baseball, with the A's and Giants set to open divisional playoff series this weekend. The odd thing is, with baseball's new playoff format, the teams (not including wild cards) that finished with lower seeds open at home.

That's because of MLB commissioner Bud Selig's rush this spring to add another playoff team in each league.

After last season's dramatic conclusion, Selig felt it would be exciting to add a second wild-card team and have the two wild-card teams play one another in a one-game playoff.

By adding that game, a travel day was lost, which would have allowed a division series format in which the higher seed gets two games at home, then two on the road, then the decisive Game 5, if needed, at home.

After adding the wild-card playoff, the format was changed to the lower seed opening with two games at home, then traveling for three on the road.

So the Giants open Saturday by the Bay and the A's begin their playoff drive in Detroit. The problem is that the higher seed could get only one game at home, if there's a sweep.

Here's the larger issue with adding a one-game wild card playoff: it cheapens the 162-game season. Atlanta finished six games better than St. Louis, but if the Cardinals find a way to win today, the Braves' season is over.

Baseball is a game in which a fluky bloop can determine the outcome. A season shouldn't be reduced to a one-game series unless two teams finish with identical records and need to break a tie.

But here in the Bay Area, let's appreciate two magnificent teams that have overcome injuries to make it to the playoffs. And let's be grateful that the seasons of the Giants and A's don't hinge on a one-game playoff.


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