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Used to be, there was a winner in the National League and a winner in the American League, and that was it. The two teams then went on to play in the World Series. The box scores in the newspapers included put-outs. A woman's place was in the kitchen. Men wore suits and ties everywhere, not just to work. "I like Ike" was considered an occupy movement.

There has been some sorely-needed progress on all fronts since then.

Charlie O. Finley was a genius, he bought the Kansas City Athletics in 1960 and talked his cousin Carl into joining him a couple of years later. Outrageous changes in baseball followed, it can easily be argued that in the 20 years that Finley owned the A's, baseball was saved from itself. Purists were outraged. How dare anyone wear such a colorful uniform? Mustaches? A designated hitter? Colored baseballs?

It's easy to fire shots across the bow of MLB Commissioner Bud Selig's boat, that ship has sailed more crooked than it has straight. Fresh out of a collusion scandal, Selig put blinders on and ignored blatant abuse of performance enhancing drugs by players. He allowed questionable ownership moves while quashing others that seemed more noble, no rational explanation given. And of course, the All-Star game now somehow counts for something, never mind irregularities with the fan voting and concerns about saving pitcher's arms. But it seems that our man finally did something right the other day.

There will be one more wild-card team in each league starting this season. Two wild-card teams in each league will play one game to decide which team moves forward in the play-offs. Is it a perfect scenario? Not hardly. But it's a start. Charlie Finley would approve. While it certainly isn't orange baseballs nor some baseball-donning rabbit popping up behind home plate to re-supply the umpire with fresh game balls, it's better than last year.

It's one extra day for Finley's ball girls to mop up around foul territory.

You'll read a lot concerning how media feels about this one-game playoff in the weeks to come. But that isn't nearly as important as the entity that drives the game of baseball, the people who are responsible for its success or failure. The people who make this game what it is are the fans of the sport. Not media.

"Anything to bring life to this sport. Been a Padre fan longer than a Charger fan... both over 30 yrs and it has been unheralded the amount of disgust for the past seasons... I can bear with the Chargers sucking because football is more exciting to watch and a short season. To have to go through year after year of them failing left and right for such a long season just pisses me off. The officials have to spruce this sport up someway somehow... make more games meaningful for the casual fans to watch... and less of these non meaningless games."

With the simple addition of one game, you get this sort of hope. This opinion - at least in San Diego - seems to be the majority opinion. Why not embrace this? Perhaps it could even be better.

"I am always for more baseball so of course, 3 games would be better, but alas, I fear these days I am in the minority."

Heck, 5 games would be great. Start the season a week early. Or else, chop off some of that 162 games of relative irrelevance. There are a lot of changes that could happen in order to enhance this idea. I don't much care for the designated hitter, but I was a big fan of Charlie Finley.

"I don't know... I kinda see it as an attempt just to make more money. Obviously baseball can't go too much longer into the year, November is too cold for baseball. Only way I can see having a wild-card series that isn't just 1 game, is to shave the regular season down. 162 games is a lot anyways."

It is. More money and so long of a season, both things. Back when Babe Ruth played, the season was shorter, no one complained about it. Why not have 150 regular season games and a longer post-season? Seems to work for most other sports.

"There would be more incentive to bribe players or officials if one game were to determine a seasonal outcome. Gambling revenues would increase. If MLB partners with organized crime & they control the gambling, each team could afford $500 million per year in salaries & we could place bets on games directly from our stadium seats."

You have to love conspiracy theorists. Way ahead of the curve. People gamble a lot of money on baseball, more than gets published. One game certainly does offer some tempting foolishness in the gambling corner of the sport. It's a lot easier to fix one game than to fix three.

"In my lifetime, there has almost never been a baseball season ending as gripping and spellbinding as last years. Thus, I don't mind a one game playoff. once they went to multiple divisions and wildcards, the importance of the 162 game year was already seriously diminished. Has that been bad for baseball? Of course not. I like what they are doing."

Another fan of Charlie Finley.

"I like the idea... The teams that will be scared are the ones that limp into the playoffs because they may go against a team that is hungry and wants it more... Or is coming into their own at the end of the season as opposed to being a front runner that is trending down."

Maybe this is the best testimonial of all. Baseball is seldom about the best team in the leagues, it's about the best team in the leagues at the end of the season. Maybe Bud Selig hit a ground rule double here. And maybe we'll see this expanded. What is it they say about hope? It springs eternal? Bud Selig is certainly no Alexander Pope, but he seems to have given this game a much-needed shot in the arm at a time where it needs one.

Charlie Finley certainly wouldn't be arguing about it.


Notes:

On the 12th of March, owners are scheduled to consider the ownership change which would place Jeff Moorad as the managing partner of Padres ownership. While it isn't official, it is widely believed that the Padres media deal with Fox Sports will also be considered. The Fox Sports deal is in the bag. Moorad's deal is still up in the air according to various sources. Focus on that date is critical. It means a lot to the City of San Diego and Padres fans.

Cameron Maybin was finally signed to a long-term contract, the Padres announced. The deal is for 5 years and totals out at $25 million dollars. Maybin probably could have done better in free agency, and the Padres didn't have to lock any player up for 5 years. It appears to be a great deal of mutual appreciation from both sides. Maybin is an excellent face for the club, smart and upbeat, and recently confessed to have fallen in love with the city. The Padres locked up a center fielder capable of bringing gold gloves and stolen bases to a club that needs that sort of production in their home park. It's a fine marriage.

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