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Top agent Boras calling for 9-game World Series

By RONALD BLUM, AP Baseball Writer

June 30, 2007

NEW YORK (AP) -- Scott Boras loves the World Series so much, he wants to make it best-of-nine -- and open with two games at a neutral site.

Arguing that the shift would create a marketing bonanza that would rival the Super Bowl, Boras outlined his ideas in a two-page letter he sent to baseball commissioner Bud Selig on April 15.

"I know from an owner's perspective, this is a gold mine," Boras said. "To have a World Series Weekend, WSW, I think it will create a stage that the game has not seen."

Boras, the high-profile agent with high-profile clients who earn high-octane paychecks, said in an interview Thursday that he will meet with the commissioner after the All-Star break to discuss his proposal. He would open the weekend on a Friday night with a televised gala announcing the MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year and Manager of the Year awards, and have the five top candidates for each in attendance.

Hall of Fame voting would be announced Saturday, with the opener that night and Game 2 on Sunday night. After that, the Series would pick up the 2-3-2 format that's been used since 1925 (except for 1943 and 1945, when there were wartime travel restrictions). If the scheduled host club for the opener won the pennant, the Series could become a 3-4-2.

Cities would bid far in advance for the right to host the first two games, and baseball would solicit corporate money, trying to create an event similar to the Super Bowl, Final Four and BCS Championship. Figure on hotels with flowing hospitality suites, ballparks surrounded by champagne-and-caviar-filled tents and tarmacs cluttered with private jets.

"Create this buzz around it the same way they do the Super Bowl," Arizona outfielder Eric Byrnes said. "I think is a very innovative idea."

At the same time, it would add more tense games to a postseason in which World Series champions already have to pile up 11 wins.

"Nine games? It's too long," said New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter, the owner of four World Series rings.

Selig, who successfully pushed for the introduction of interleague play, wild-card teams and an extra round of playoffs, declined comment on Boras' letter.

There already has been one far less radical change to the World Series this year. While it was scheduled for a Saturday start from 1985 through last year, it is slated to begin on a Wednesday in an effort to decrease Saturday night telecasts, which get low television ratings.

The World Series originally was a best-of-nine affair, with the Boston Americans (now the Red Sox) beating the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-3 in 1903. The Series switched to best-of-seven for the second edition in 1905 and has remained that way with the exception of 1919, 1920 and 1921, when it again was best-of-nine.

That, of course, was before television. Extra postseason games these days translate to more broadcast revenue.

"I could see how that would possibly be a big draw, a big money maker, something cool and new," San Francisco Giants player representative Randy Winn said. "But I think a seven-game Series is more than enough to decide who the world champion is."

Boras is convinced winning the right to stage the first two games would be a windfall for the host club, which would tie access to Series seats to season-ticket plans. Teams currently do that with the All-Star game.

Chicago's Wrigley Field hasn't hosted a World Series since 1945. The Series hasn't been to Washington, D.C., since 1933, and it's never been hosted by Colorado, Seattle, Tampa Bay or Texas.

"The World Series is something that rarely gets to a number of venues in professional baseball. And that's one problem because we want the fan base of particular cities to participate in the World Series even though there may be a lull in the particular performance of the regional team," Boras said.

Imagine World Series Weekend in Las Vegas? Or Hawaii? Maybe even Tokyo?

"Obviously generating revenue is what this is all about anymore, which is sad, but again, you have to find ways to make it work," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "But, yeah, that's certainly intriguing."

Given baseball's traditional conservatism and resistance to change, Boras' idea likely won't be adopted anytime soon. But it has gotten some people thinking.

"I'm not a guy that would just want to hold onto the past for the sake of combating change," said Washington Nationals president Stan Kasten, who had one conversation with Boras about the proposal. "But in this case, I think we have such brand equity in the marketplace established with a seven-game Fall Classic, played in the two home cities. I really like that. For a lot of reasons, I think that neutral sites wouldn't work the way they do in other sports."

But if baseball ever does include neutral-site games, businesses would salivate to be involved.

"I think the opportunity to celebrate the ultimate of our national pastime in a neutral location opens up a whole host of opportunities for corporate sponsors," said Eric Kraus, a sports marketing executive formerly with Gillette and now with Covidien. "Like an All-Star game or like the Super Bowl, you're bringing in a whole host of fans and corporate partners that you wouldn't be able to reach."

AP Sports Writer Janie McCauley contributed to this report.

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No way. Leave it the way it is. The only way a World Series game should be played at Wrigley is if the Cubs are in it, not two other clubs who are there for big buck$ and business deal$. And that part about the World Series being filled with champagne and caviar made me think. If I were the CEO of a multi-billion dollar corporation and was given tickets to the World Series or Super Bowl or whatever, I would administer a test to any emplyees who wanted to attend. It would be on the teams, players, that year's Series in general. If they didn't score an 80% or higher, you don't go. If you do pass, you know the game and deserve the right to go. The extra tickets left over go to charity. I just don't want to see the World Series turn into a type of event where business people attend, just to "be there" like the Super Bowl is. Oops, said too soon.

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Personally...I kinda like the neutral site aspect for one or two games. But owners would never approve that. You'd be taking money out of their pockets. But from a fans perspective, It'd be cool to see certain venue's staging the whole weekend like the Super Bowl and Final 4.

9 is too long. If you want to add 2 games, add them to the first round. 7 game series are perfect. Its like 90 feet, 60' 6". Just too good to screw with. With a 7 game first round, you'd reduce the number of teams with 2 hot pitchers moving on. The Wild Card team would have a harder time moving on as well. Plus instead of adding 2 games, you're adding 8 games overall. Every playoff team gets an extra home game to sell tickets too.

I also like the idea of a world series weekend with all the post season award winners announced. But in reality...why couldn't you do that how its structured now? Do it on Wednesday night or the tuesday night before in the opening game's city.

He's got some decent ideas and I'm not going to write them off because of who he is.

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The World Series weekend is definitely a great idea. However 9 games are too much. The neutral site is an interesting aspect, but doesn't make much sense unless all 7 (or 9) games are played their.

One change I'd like to see is a one game wildcard playoff for both leagues. It would tire the wildcards and throw their rotations out of whack, decreasing their chances of winning.

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The awards ceremony and Hall of Fame announcement are a good idea for before the beginning of the first game, the rest is junk. Nothing says a World Series like the inevitable matchup between the San Diego Padres and the Toronto Blue Jays............ to be played at first in beautiful Arlington, Texas. Not to mention the fact that the season stretches on far too long anyway, the World Series hasn't truly been that great since 1991, and the idea of games at the end being snowed out because the Series now stretches into November, and we have the makings of a truly great idea. Should Boras get this idea off the ground, I hope that for his next trick he be allowed to rep guys in the NBA and ask for a 17 game NBA Finals with the first 12 games to be rotated between such exciting locales as Venezuela, Guam, and Kashmir.

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Ah, nothing like seeing the world champions of baseball hoisting the commissioner's trophy on a cool, frosty November night.

No thank you. THere's a reason it's been seven for so long, let's keep it that way.

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with the series starting mid week this year and a november game 7 already (if it happens) i don't think 9 games would be a good idea. I also do not like the neutral site idea. Just think your team finally makes the series and the only games you can get tickets for are across the country bc of this neutral site idea...not fun.

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with the series starting mid week this year and a november game 7 already (if it happens) i don't think 9 games would be a good idea. I also do not like the neutral site idea. Just think your team finally makes the series and the only games you can get tickets for are across the country bc of this neutral site idea...not fun.

Well his idea was to have a neutral site for the first two games only, as part of the big World Series weekend. The other 5 games would be played at each of the teams home ballparks.

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I was thinking first they're delaying the start of the World Series so it will fit into FOX's broadcasting schedule pushing it potentially into November, and now extend it two games? No. 7 is perfect.

I'm not a fan of the neutral site either. Since it's a series, it should be held at the particpants' venues.

I'm not dismissing this idea because it's Scott Boras. I'm dismissing it because I think it's stupid. :P

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What if the team with home field advantage sweeps the series? That would suck balls for the fans of the team that loses only getting to see them play one game in the World Series and losing (especially if it was the Cubs).

--Roger "Time?" Clemente.

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with the series starting mid week this year and a november game 7 already (if it happens) i don't think 9 games would be a good idea. I also do not like the neutral site idea. Just think your team finally makes the series and the only games you can get tickets for are across the country bc of this neutral site idea...not fun.

Well his idea was to have a neutral site for the first two games only, as part of the big World Series weekend. The other 5 games would be played at each of the teams home ballparks.

so??? that doesn't change my point.

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with the series starting mid week this year and a november game 7 already (if it happens) i don't think 9 games would be a good idea. I also do not like the neutral site idea. Just think your team finally makes the series and the only games you can get tickets for are across the country bc of this neutral site idea...not fun.

Well his idea was to have a neutral site for the first two games only, as part of the big World Series weekend. The other 5 games would be played at each of the teams home ballparks.

so??? that doesn't change my point.

It kinda does, becasue you could still see your team at home. Even if it is for just one game. Not all the games are at a nuetral site.

But either way it's a stupid idea. Just have this World Series weekend in the city of the team with the best record and keep everything the way it does.

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with the series starting mid week this year and a november game 7 already (if it happens) i don't think 9 games would be a good idea. I also do not like the neutral site idea. Just think your team finally makes the series and the only games you can get tickets for are across the country bc of this neutral site idea...not fun.

Well his idea was to have a neutral site for the first two games only, as part of the big World Series weekend. The other 5 games would be played at each of the teams home ballparks.

so??? that doesn't change my point.

It kinda does, becasue you could still see your team at home. Even if it is for just one game. Not all the games are at a nuetral site.

But either way it's a stupid idea. Just have this World Series weekend in the city of the team with the best record and keep everything the way it does.

the only games you can get tickets for are across the country bc of this neutral site idea....see what i am saying is the "home" game would be more difficult to get tickets for as opposed to a neutral site, or maybe the neutral site games are the only ones you can possibly make it to.

anyway like we both said stupid idea just leave it alone.

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I like the neutral site idea, but on one condition. The only game that can be held at a neutral site is Game 7. When was the last time a World Series hit seven games? Ten years ago?

2002, 2001, and 1997 all went to 7.

Angels vs. Giants

Diamondbacks vs. Yankees

Marlins vs. Indians

Also...if El Birdos failed to hold serve at home last year, I'm pretty sure that series would have gone 7 as well (with Detroit winning).

So no...taking away game 7 from home would not be cool.

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