SBD/Issue 43/Leagues & Governing Bodies

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  • MLB GMs Neglect To Address Expanding Instant Replay At Meetings

    Several GMs Say Instant Replay Never Open
    To Discussion, Too Soon To Modify System
    MLB GMs yesterday at their annual meeting "never addressed, let alone proposed the possibility of expanding the instant-replay system," according to Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. Instant replay "will remain limited in 2010 to determining only whether potential home runs are fair or foul or cleared fences." MLB Exec VP/Baseball Operations Jimmie Lee Solomon: "I think we need to digest what we've got. I know some (general managers) have talked off-line about the expansion of instant replay, but [Commissioner Bud Selig] doesn't see any reason to consider it." Several GMs said that instant replay was "never open to discussion, but even if it was open to a debate, it is too soon to modify the system after being just implemented in August 2008, even in the wake of a postseason filled with blown calls by umpires" (USA TODAY, 11/11). Solomon said Selig is "going to talk to a lot of people in a lot of different disciplines before he makes a decision that impacts and changes" MLB, as he has been "very methodical about making those types of decisions and he will continue to do so." Yankees GM Brian Cashman: "We want what the umpires want -- to get the calls right. If the Commissioner's Office and the umps' union decides we already have the best format, then this is the best format. If there's a better way, we'll discuss it and pursue it, and we'll leave it in their hands." But Mets GM Omar Minaya said, "If you keep expanding it, it gets into areas where I'm not comfortable" (MLB.com, 11/10). Angels GM Tony Reagins said instant replay is "working great, and for the most part the umpires are getting the calls right when replay is used." Reagins: "Can we always tweak and get better? Absolutely. But I think we're headed in the right direction" (AP, 11/10).

    MIXED OPINIONS: MLB.com's Hal Bodley wrote, "Just the thought of umpires racing off the field to have a replay checked for something other than home runs angers me. Let's leave the human element of umpiring just where it is." MLB umpires "had a tough postseason, confessing after watching replays that they missed some calls that could have determined the outcome of the games in question," but MLB issues "go in cycles." Bodley: "I do not think that's reason to push the panic button and expand video replay" (MLB.com, 11/10). But YAHOO SPORTS' Kevin Kaduk wrote the technology "could easily be there to provide a safety net for the human element on the field." Replay "came through without much lost time" on a home run by Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez in World Series Game Three, and Kaduk wrote, "Why not let it come through in other spots that are just as crucial? Why must this be so difficult?" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 11/10). SportsNet N.Y.'s Adam Schein: "You would think after what happened in the playoffs, this would be the first thing on the agenda" ("Loud Mouths," SportsNet N.Y., 11/10).

    GOING GREEN: CBSSPORTS.com's Ray Ratto writes, "When replay makes lots of money, you'll have replay. Until then, you won't. Simple as that." Selig is "flexible and even aggressive when you can show him how he and his employers make more money off a change in procedure, but is otherwise a profound traditionalist" (CBSSPORTS.com, 11/11).

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  • MLBPA Monitoring Remarks That Could Affect Free Agent Spending

    MLBPA Monitoring Comments It Believes
    Are Meant To Put Crimp On Free-Agent Market
    The MLBPA is "monitoring comments from team officials that it believes are meant to put a crimp in the money spent on talent this offseason," according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com. Incoming MLBPA Exec Dir Michael Weiner said that the union is "keeping tabs on remarks by anonymous club officials who have made dire forecasts about the state of free agency this winter," as the MLBPA is "concerned about predictions that a flood of 'non-tendered' players will drive down salaries for free agents already on the market." While Weiner "declined to use the word 'collusion,' his comments hint at an orchestrated effort by club officials." Weiner: "If we could prove there was a plan by management to use the press to try to depress free-agent salaries, in our view that would be a violation of our contract." MLB Exec VP/Labor Relations Rob Manfred "quickly disputed Weiner's take on events." Manfred: "It seems to me a bit far-fetched to suggest that we are attempting to effect the free-agent market through anonymous quotes from unnamed sources." Crasnick noted the MLBPA "took note of two recent blog items" by ESPN's Buster Olney, who "sought input from multiple general managers before writing that 'dozens' of players with three, four or five years of service time will be cut loose by teams rather than offered contracts next month." White Sox GM Kenny Williams said, "I don't think we're out of the woods yet with sports getting slapped in the face of reality. It's not fun and games anymore. It's a business, and it's got to be run as a business." Weiner "didn't dispute that observation but thinks an improving economy and the desire by teams to field competitive clubs should make for an active market" (ESPN.com, 11/10).

    DEFINE MID-MARKET: In St. Louis, Joe Strauss notes MLB player agent Scott Boras yesterday "sneered at the premise" when asked about a "mid-market franchise's capacity to remain competitive after retaining a franchise player with a payroll-rattling long-term deal." Boras: "I don't know what a mid-market franchise is. That's like a midsize aircraft carrier. They all have the potential to have an economic bomb. If you're drawing 3.3 million fans and you're averaging $50 a fan coming in, I just don't know that mid-market term. I'm trying to think if that's part of the laissez-faire system. I don't know" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 11/11).

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  • Selig Talks November Baseball, Umps In Wide-Ranging Interview

    Selig Discusses Issues Currently Facing
    MLB In "Studio 42" Interview
    MLB Commissioner Bud Selig sat down with MLB Network's Bob Costas for a wide-ranging interview taped during the World Series that hits on several issues facing the league. With the World Series stretching into November, Selig said he is "not comfortable" playing games in the month. Selig: "I really loathe going into November, worried about it a long time." The World Series stretched into November this year because the World Baseball Classic (WBC) delayed the start of the season, and Selig said of the tournament, "It is such a unique device for taking our sport internationally, something we must do. ... Once every four years, we're going to have to take that as the price for doing what we're doing now." He also again noted he would like to see World Series day games. Selig: "What has really disappointed me is we do show quite a few day games during the postseason, they just don't do very well." Selig said he has talked to network officials and "TV ratings people" about day games, and "they all say including the World Series, your ratings will be down considerably." Selig: "Remember, it's my job, and our job as a sport, to make sure that as many people as possible can see our game as possible."

    BOSS TALK: Despite numerous missed calls by umpires during the MLB Playoffs this year, Selig said he is "very proud of the umpires" and he wants to be "very protective of them." Meanwhile, he noted in the next CBA, the sport "needs a worldwide Draft" and a "slotting system for our players." Selig: "There's no question we're going to do that. ... When they went to the Draft in 1965, the objective was for competitive balance, and we have more competitive balance than ever before but the Draft has become a problem on that score." Selig said MLB wanted a salary floor when negotiating the current CBA, but the MLBPA was "against it." Selig: "I'll be able to get more into the economics as time goes on. I have a lot of ideas." Selig also said former MLBPA Exec Dir Marvin Miller "belongs in the Hall of Fame." Selig: "If the criteria is that the impact that you've had on the sport, whatever one wants to value that impact, yes Marvin Miller should be in the Hall of Fame ... and I stand probably alone on my side" ("Studio 42," MLB Network, 11/10).

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  • League Notes

    Vick Allowed To Keep
    $20M In Bonuses
    In St. Paul, Brian Murphy reports the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday ruled that Judge David Doty "did not abuse his authority when he allowed" Eagles QB Michael Vick to keep $20M in bonuses after being imprisoned for running a dog fighting operation. The NFL had wanted the court to "overturn Doty's ruling last year." Meanwhile, Doty's "oversight in Minneapolis over league labor matters will remain intact" as the NFL and NFLPA negotiate a new CBA. The NFL in March had argued that Doty's role in collective bargaining was "no longer needed 16 years after owners and players brokered their landmark labor deal" in '93 "under his scrutiny" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 11/11).

    ABSENCE FELT: ESPN’s John Buccigross wrote there will be "major repercussions" from not having former NHLPA Exec Dir Paul Kelly and his staff with the organization. Buccigross: "On the business side, many current and potential corporate sponsors and licensees must be questioning the value of the NHLPA brand and whether this is the kind of organization they want to be associated with. ... On the overall CBA negotiations, I think it hurts the players because it has left them so divided and without a leader." Buccigross added, "The best thing the players could ever do would be to bring Kelly back" (ESPN.com, 11/10). 

    RUSSIAN WINTER: The GLOBE & MAIL's Eric Duhatschek reports IIHF President Rene Fasel "believes there is a 'better than 90[%] chance' the NHL will participate" in the '14 Sochi Olympics. Fasel: "Speaking with the players, I know they want to go." Fasel noted NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is "not so much in favour to go to" the Sochi Games. Fasel: "I think this is wrong. He should be the man that says, 'We want to go because this is good for our sport.' I think this is a must for the game" (GLOBE & MAIL, 11/11).

    FA CUTS: In London, Paul Kelso reports England's Football Association (FA) is "facing budget cuts of up to 10[%] in an attempt to insulate the organisation from the collapse of Setanta, which has left a shortfall of up to" US$83.3M. The cuts, which could save more than US$16.7M annually, are "intended to drag spending back in line with contracted revenue and allow the organisation to live within its means in the medium term" (London TELEGRAPH, 11/11).

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