Brewers come out in favor of expanded playoffs

Brewers come out in favor of expanded playoffs

PHOENIX -- If any Brewer were going to speak out in support of Major League Baseball's proposal to expand the playoff system, it was going to be Carlos Gomez.

According to reports, MLB and the MLB Players Association on Thursday were putting the finishing touches on a plan to add one additional Wild Card team in each league. The three division winners in each league would await the survivor of the one-game Wild Card playoff, establishing the Division Series field. The subsequent DS, League Championship Series and World Series formats would remain the same.

Gomez was uniquely qualified to discuss the issue because he's already appeared in two play-in games, both with the Twins. In 2008, Minnesota dropped a 1-0 game -- No. 163 -- at the White Sox, and a year later they beat the Tigers at home, 6-5 in 12 innings, with Gomez scoring the winning run from second base on Alexi Casilla's one-out single.

"I think [the expanded system] is a good idea, because if those two teams are in position to play a game like that, it means they deserve to be in the playoffs," Gomez said. "You have to play great baseball all year long to get in that position."

MLB officials said during the November General Managers Meetings that they wanted the expanded playoff system in place for 2012, but it required negotiations with the MLBPA because of the scheduling issues involved.

The regular season ends this year on Wednesday, Oct. 3, leaving only two days for travel, weather problems, plus season-ending tiebreakers for division titles and Wild Card berths and the Wild Card play-in games prior to the start of playoffs on Saturday, Oct. 6. It could make for some interesting travel, depending on the teams involved.

But left-hander Chris Narveson, the Brewers' union representative, said it was an easy call to support the new plan.

"You look at the way it finished last year, it was so exciting," Narveson said. "This is only going to drive more competition. And [the travel] doesn't bother us because we're in the Central."

Said Gomez: "When you have the chance to make the playoffs, and opportunity you might have never had in your life, I don't care how far you have to go."

Until last year, Gomez's scamper home in '09 marked his greatest moment in baseball. Then he enjoyed a nearly identical celebration in the win-or-go-home Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS against the D-backs, when Gomez singled in the 10th inning, stole second base and scored the winning run on Nyjer Morgan's single up the middle, propelling the Brewers to their first LCS in 29 years.

Gomez has photos of both of his winning runs and plans to hang them in the trophy room of a home he's building in the Dominican Republic.

"Those things, I'm going to remember them for the rest of my life," he said. "I'm pretty lucky."