SBD/Issue 198/Leagues & Governing Bodies

MLB Commissioner Bud Selig Talks State Of The League

Selig Discusses State Of
MLB During Q&A Session



MLB Commissioner Bud Selig during his annual Q&A session with members of the Baseball Writers Association of America yesterday “wanted to talk about the increased attendance in [MLB], the boost in revenues and the marquee players who were playing in the All-Star Game,” but he “was realistic enough to know he had to address other topics, too,” according to Jack Curry of the N.Y. TIMES. Selig discussed subjects ranging from Giants LF Barry Bonds to performance-enhancing substances to the next CBA, saying, “There are always going to be problems” (N.Y. TIMES, 7/12). But he added, “One thing I’ve learned about baseball — I’ve learned to live with it — we are held to a higher standard. People are more critical of whatever the negative issues of the day are than in other things. By any accepted yardstick today, this sport has never been more popular” (USA TODAY, 7/12). Selig said gross revenue is projected to increase to $5.2B this season (Mult., 7/12). Selig, on attendance: “We’re at 40.4 million fans. That’s important to me, to hopefully set another attendance record. We’re going to come very close” (TORONTO STAR, 7/12).

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



FUTURE ALL-STAR SITES: Selig called the idea of holding the ’08 All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium “a very intriguing possibility” (Mult., 7/12). He added that “no decision had been made and that there are two or three strong contenders”
(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).

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