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Selig lauds baseball's competitive balance

Selig lauds baseball's competitive balance

SAN FRANCISCO -- Commissioner Bud Selig said on Thursday night just prior to Game 2 of the World Series at AT&T Park that this year's matchup between the Giants and Rangers proves that competitive balance is on the upswing in Major League Baseball.

The same two teams haven't played each other in back-to-back Fall Classics since Selig was named interim Commissioner in 1992. That, in fact, hasn't happened since the Dodgers played the Yankees in 1977 and '78. Since 2000, 16 of the 30 teams have represented both leagues in the World Series with no team repeating as champion.

"This is a great story for baseball," Selig told the collective media after Tim Wakefield of the Red Sox was named the winner of this year's Roberto Clemente Award. "If somebody had told you back in March that the Giants would play the Rangers in the World Series, that would've been pretty surprising.

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"I told our bankers [during a meeting on Thursday] that it's the most important manifestation of what we set out to do in the 1990s: create as much competitive balance as you can. If you look at the last five to 10 years, the sport has never had this kind of competitive balance. You can talk about it and you can show charts, but when the Texas Rangers are playing the San Francisco Giants, that says it all. And it's great for baseball."

In other areas, Selig said again that matters like expansion of the playoffs and instant replay are to be discussed in various committees during the offseason. He said he was very satisfied with the 10.4 overnight rating FOX garnered for the Giants' 11-7 victory on Wednesday night in Game 1.

FOX drew its highest ratings for Game 1 of Rangers-Giants in the San Francisco market with a 35.9 rating. The Dallas TV market was slightly behind at 33.9 for the Rangers' first appearance in the World Series.

Selig also praised the pending hire of Sandy Alderson as general manager of the Mets. The official announcement is scheduled for New York on Friday. Alderson is a highly regarded former MLB vice president of baseball operations and was the chief executive of the Padres. Most recently, he was rehired by MLB as a consultant working on scouting violations in the Dominican Republic.

"I've known Sandy for 30 years," said Selig, whose relationship with Alderson goes back to when Selig owned the Brewers and Alderson was in the baseball hierarchy of the A's. "I've never given him a project that he hasn't completed and completed well. I have enormous respect for Sandy, both professionally and personally.

"And I will tell you that the job he did for us in the Dominican was extraordinary. In fact, last night I got up in the middle of night wondering how I'm going to replace him. He's a first-rate person and a great executive."

About the constant chatter regarding whether MLB intends to add an extra Wild Card in each league to the playoff mix, Selig reiterated what he's been saying for quite some time. That's a story for another time and place. Michael Weiner, the executive director of the Players Association, said here that there's a division among the players whether to move forward on the concept, but the union is open to talk about it.

Selig said it's possible that the format could change in time for next postseason, but the issue must be collectively bargained and likely will be discussed during next year's negotiations for a new Basic Agreement. The current agreement expires on Dec. 11, 2011.

"That's for later," Selig said about any playoff expansion plans. "I said that I would consider it. We will when this is all over and we begin our offseason meetings. We've got to work out all the details and then we'll take it to all the constituencies, you bet."

Barry M. Bloom is national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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