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Selig Discusses State Of
MLB During Q&A Session
DRUG TESTING: Selig said that he is “happy with the effectiveness” of MLB’s drug-testing policy, and that he “does not believe use of [HGH] is a widespread problem in baseball.” Selig: “I’ve asked that question to a lot of [team] doctors and trainers. The most I’ve gotten out of anybody is, ‘If more than one or two people on our team is doing it, we’d be shocked.’ ... Steroid use has been minimized. On amphetamines, we’re doing okay.” Only one player this season, Mets minor league P Yusaku Iriki, has tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. When asked if anyone has tested positive for amphetamines this season, Selig said, “Amphetamine testing is working.” The names of first-time amphetamine offenders are not made public (WASHINGTON POST, 7/12).
ALL-STAR GAME ISSUES: Selig said of players such as Red Sox LF Manny Ramirez who are voted to the All-Star Game by fans but do not attend, “Maybe I’m old-fashioned, you’re voted onto the All-Star team, it’s a privilege. You ought to be here” (BOSTON HERALD, 7/12). Selig also suggested that MLB “needed to look into the possibility of enacting a rule that all-star pitchers cannot pitch on the Sunday before the game” (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 7/12). The AL won last night’s game 3-2 in the ninth inning, and Selig said of the format awarding home field advantage in the World Series to the game’s winner, “Did you see the reaction of both teams at the end? The intensity was tremendous. That’s the thing that had been missing. And now we’ve brought it back” (MLB.com, 7/12).
CBA TALKS: With the current CBA set to expire in December, Selig said, “I think the relationship between the parties is as good as we have seen. Obviously, nothing is a sure thing. We have a lot of hard negotiations ahead. But I think we’ve come a long way” (N.Y. TIMES, 7/12). He added that owners “are again likely to propose a minimum payroll in upcoming negotiations” (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 7/12). Selig also “expressed contentment with the current revenue sharing plan, which should distribute some $323[M] this year.” Selig, on how team use the money: “I have never had a complaint from a big-market club. ... [But] we will not tolerate people not spending the money. We are trying to level the playing field” (BOSTON HERALD, 7/12). Selig said that revenue sharing “is ‘close’ to being adequate enough to eliminate the complaint that teams like the Pirates and [Royals] can’t compete” (PITT. POST-GAZETTE, 7/12). Selig said the Tigers’ on-field resurgence “is proof that the economic system is working” (DETROIT NEWS, 7/12).
Selig Says ’08 All-Star Game At Yankee
Stadium Could Become A Reality
(PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 7/12). Blue Jays President Paul Godfrey believes that his team has “a good chance of landing” the 2010 or 2012 All-Star Game. Godfrey: “In two or three years, our stadium will have enough of a makeover that we feel we’ll have a shot”
(Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 7/12). The Twins and MLB “have had informal dialogue about bringing another All-Star Game to Minnesota.” The “best bet for the game is 2014, 2015 or 2016 in the new downtown Minneapolis ballpark, scheduled to open in 2010” (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 7/12).
LEAGUE NOTES: Selig, on the state of George Mitchell’s steroid investigation: “He’s very independent. I don’t hear from him” (N.Y. POST, 7/12)....Selig said that there is “no prospect of unifying the [AL and NL] with either an MLB-wide implementation or elimination of the [DH] unless there’s a ‘cataclysmic event like geographical realignment of both leagues,’ a matter that is not currently under discussion” (MLB.com, 7/11)....Selig said that he “intends to change” the blackout policy for MLB Extra Innings and MLB.TV “that leaves some cities without as many as six baseball games each night.” Selig: “I’ve already told our people we have to do something about it” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 7/12).
FRANCHISE NOTES: Selig said of the Pirates’ ownership group, “I have faith in this group. I know how determined they are, and I know how desperate they are to produce a winner.” He noted that the Reds and Tigers “have recently rebounded, and markets such as Oakland and Minnesota field competitive teams” (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 7/12). Selig: “If you think changing ownership is an immediate panacea to solving this problem, you’re kidding yourself” (Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 7/12)....Selig said of the Phillies’ handling of the alleged domestic violence incident involving P Brett Myers, “Once they got everything in perspective, I think they’ve handled it very well” (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 7/12)....Selig “emphasized that [MLB] is committed to keeping baseball in South Florida,” despite the Marlins’ failed attempts to build a new ballpark. But Selig added, “They can’t survive in [Dolphin Stadium]. A ballpark is the only economic variable that can control your revenue” (PALM BEACH POST, 7/12).
METTLE & ‘BRON: In Akron, Brian Windhorst reports Cavaliers F LeBron James will sign a three-year contract extension for an estimated $43M, “the maximum allowable salary,” that will go into effect for the ’07-08 season. James also holds an option for a fourth year at $17M. Under the deal, James could become an unrestricted free agent in 2010, and as a seven-year veteran would be “eligible for a new maximum contract that starts at 30[%] of the salary cap” (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 7/12). James: “We did extensive research and with the way the CBA is set up, it makes the most business sense to sign this extension and then look at another new contract in four years” (AP, 7/12).
FOLLOW THE LEADER: ESPN.com reports Heat G Dwyane Wade, who reportedly agreed to a maximum five-year, $80M extension last week, is instead expected to sign a three-year deal with an option for a fourth year, similar to James’ extension (ESPN.com, 7/12). In Denver, Adam Thompson reports the Nuggets plan to sign F Carmelo Anthony to a five-year extension worth $80M, but Anthony’s agent, Bill Duffy, said that he expects Anthony’s contract “to include an early termination option on the fifth year,” allowing him to opt out of the deal before the 2011-2012 season. Anthony’s agents “re-examined the deal” after James decided to sign a shorter contract (DENVER POST, 7/12).
GROWING PAINS: In Minneapolis, Pam Schmid wrote the league “continues to feel growing pains. ... Talent and a growing pool of young female basketball players have yet to translate into profitability for a league some have relegated to permanent ‘second-tier’ status.” Sports Business Group President David Carter said, “The WNBA will never be a big-time, big-money league. ... [It is] a secondary league that delivers modest TV ratings and fan support” (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 7/9). In N.Y., Harvey Araton wrote, “Generally speaking, women are more likely to watch men play on television than men are to watch women.” Also, the WNBA “must compete in a news-media climate that is overwhelmingly male.” Orender said, “The people in charge of editorial direction don’t cater to all potential readers, and they will ultimately send them elsewhere to get what they want” (N.Y. TIMES, 7/11).
Leslie (c) Says Start Up Of WNBA
Exceeded Her Expectations
YOUTH OF A NATION: In N.Y., Evan Grossman writes while the All-Star Game “is a celebration of a decade of women’s professional basketball, it is also a pep rally for the future of the league.” The “influx of youth” across the WNBA has some observers “looking forward,” and the group of young players “recognizes that it’s now their job to carry the torch into the next 10 years” (N.Y. POST, 7/12).
Champ Car Could Leave
Oval Track Races In The Dust
MLB will acquire all of USA Baseball’s commercial rights under a new ten-year agreement. MLB Properties will provide a guaranteed level of annual funding to support USAB’s athlete programs in exchange for sponsorship, licensing, Internet and other business rights. The deal also has a revenue-sharing opportunity to provide for USAB’s growth (MLB)....In Pittsburgh, Chuck Finder reports protestors blocking the Roberto Clemente Bridge near PNC Park “forced a brief disturbance yesterday, two hours before the start” of the MLB All-Star Game. About 100 representatives of the Pittsburgh Anti-Sweatshop Community Alliance protested the “official [MLB] apparel produced in sweatshops” (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 7/12).
GUILDED SWORD: SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL’s Liz Mullen reports Dwight Manley, the new national manager of the Jockeys’ Guild, “has agreed in principle to an unusual employment contract in which he will be paid a percentage of new revenue he brings into the organization, but will split those fees 50-50 with [Senior Advisor] Jesse Jackson.” Manley will receive 5% of new on-track revenue and 15% of any off-track revenue “that he brings into the guild.” The current baseline for on-track revenue is $2.2M a year. While off-track revenue includes advertising and licensing money, the guild currently “has no licensing money coming in” (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 7/10 issue).
RING TONE: Saturday’s UFC rematch between Tito Ortiz and Ken Shamrock at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas “was expected to tally more than half a million [PPV] buys.” Tickets to the fight sold out, with ringside seats “fetching $750.” About 12,400 people attended and “tickets generated a $3.5[M] gate” (AP, 7/11).