1. Major League Baseball’s proposal to spice up the playoffs isn’t a hit with a couple of players.
Commissioner Rob Manfred has had talks with the players association about making the following changes to the postseason:
• Seven teams in each league make the playoffs, up from the current five.
• The wild card games are replaced with a best-of-three wild card series.
• Playoff teams are seeded first by division winners and then by teams with the next four highest win totals. (Ties are broken by head-to-head series. No tiebreaker games for postseason entry or seeding will be held.)
• The No. 1 seed will get a first-round bye. On the Sunday night after teams play the last game of the regular season, a “selection show” will take place in which the No. 2 seed chooses which team it wants to play among the bottom three seeds (Nos. 5, 6 and 7). The No. 3 seed then makes its choice. The No. 4 seed plays the remaining club.
• The higher seed will host all three games in that round.
Red pitchers Trevor Bauer, who is never shy about sharing his opinions, blasted Manfred as a “joke” over the proposal.
Phillies shortstop Didi Gregorious was much more diplomatic with this reaction to the news.
At the risk of feeling Bauer’s wrath, I love the new proposal. There is nothing wrong with trying to make baseball more exciting. A Selection Show would do that. Having teams pick their opponents would DEFINITELY do that.
Think about the attention that would be generated when a team chooses an opponent who ends up beating them? That layer of intrigue being added to a series would be invaluable.
The people who don’t like the proposal will cite a watering down of the postseason my adding more teams. Well, that ship sailed once the second-wild card was added. There’s no difference between five playoff teams and seven.
And for the people who bemoan baseball using gimmicks, guess what? The sports already uses gimmicks. The DH is a gimmick. The second wild-card is a gimmick. Playing games in London or at the Field of Dreams stadium is a gimmick. Gimmick’s aren’t always a bad thing.
It’s so easy to just dump on any commissioner who wants to make changes, but I give Manfred credit for trying to keep baseball relevant and improve its TV product. If you don’t think the sport needs help in those areas, your head is in the sand.
2. From the “What on earth could he possibly have been thinking department,” comes SEC Network gymnastics analyst, Barry Booker. For some mind-boggling reason, Booker decided to refer to college gymnasts as, “scantily clad women” on a live broadcast this past weekend. .
There hasn’t been any official word yet on the disciplinary action against Booker, but he probably won’t be behind a microphone for a while.
3. Alex Rodriguez’s golf clubs are an embarrassment.
4. Just a reminder: The Milwaukee Bucks are still doing Monday Night Raw shows as their pregame routine and it’s outstanding.
5. The Oscars drew just 23 million viewers on Sunday, the lowest total in the history of the show. SiriusXM’s Chris “Mad Dog” Russo had some suggestions for the Academy on how to improve the show during a vintage rant on Monday.
6. The latest SI Media Podcast features an interview with media writer Bryan Curtis of The Ringer. Curtis spent last week on Radio Row and wrote a story about how guests are booked, why radio shows still bother going to Radio Row and why shows from Radio Row are always awful. We also talked about the Super Bowl halftime show, TV ratings and more.
7. RANDOM YOUTUBE VIDEO OF THE DAY: Jimmy Kimmel’s Guillermo interviewing people at the Oscars was way better than the Oscars.
Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on iTunes, Spotify or Stitcher. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter and Instagram.