SBD/Issue 82/Leagues & Governing Bodies

MLB Owners Meet, Selig Claims He Has "Overwhelming Support"

MLB Commissioner Bud Selig "claimed he received 'overwhelming' support" from the owners "in his crusade to change" the game's economic system at the MLB owners meetings yesterday in Phoenix, according to Mark Gonzales of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC, who writes that Selig "instructed his negotiations to aggressively pursue changes, such as the implementation" of a competitive draft, an int'l amateur draft and the trading of draft picks, "in future talks with" the MLBPA. Selig "also implored management's negotiators to seek proposals outlined" in the Blue Ribbon on MLB Economics report "aimed at improving" competitive balance among the teams. Selig said, "We're not going to have any public comment (on labor). Neither is anybody else. The only thing I'm going to say to you is that it's been a circus-like affair in the past, and it shall not be that way in the future" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 1/18). The AP's Ronald Blum writes that MLB's proposed economic plan does not have the support of Mets co-Owner Nelson Doubleday. Doubleday said, "We need to change the landscape. If we're going to change this system, it has to be changed at every level." More Doubleday, on MLB's proposed competitive balance draft: "I personally think it's an outrage. It's a sham. It's everything baseball shouldn't be for. ... What you're saying is you don't have to scout. We'll do that for you. Why spend money on scouting when you can take eight of our best players, or four of them or two of them." But Orioles Owner Peter Angelos said, "We would do it to achieve balance. I think that's a goal to strive for." In other news, owners extended Turner Broadcasting's agreement to televise Braves' games nationally on TBS and that MLB extended MLBP's deal to sell teams' licensed goods through May 31 (AP, 1/18).

THE PETER PRINCIPLE: ESPN's Peter Gammons said last night owners are trying to "map out their strategy for what they're going to try to bring to the players at the end of the season when the [CBA] is up." Gammons said, "They're talking about different forms of revenue sharing, they're talking [about the competitive balance draft], they're trying to figure out how they can get the small markets and the big markets to agree on some way to bring about competitive balance. Also, come up with some ideas of things that the [MLBPA] will agree to. ... They can talk about whatever they want, it doesn't mean anything until November of next year when they really go to the players. Bud Selig has to know how strongly the Mets and the Yankees feel about not wanting to share money with Montreal and Kansas City and Minnesota and he has to be able to take the field, be able to do the politics and get the owners in line before November" ("Baseball Tonight," ESPN, 1/17).

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