SBD/Issue 154/Leagues & Governing Bodies

Bud Selig Confirms MLB's Science Adviser Examining HGH Testing

Selig Unsure When HGH
Study Will Be Completed

MLB Commissioner Bud Selig said that the league's science adviser, UCLA professor Dr. Gary Green, is "examining the human growth hormone blood test available through" WADA but "isn't sure when the study will be completed," according to Ronald Blum of the AP. The USADA "insists the test is valid," but Selig Thursday during his annual session with the APSE said that Green "hasn't made a determination." Blum noted while HGH is banned in MLB, the sport "doesn't test for it." Players "currently have only urine testing," though the MLBPA has said that it "would consider a blood test if it is validated." Meanwhile, Selig said that while attendance is down between 1-2% so far this season, "advance ticket sales for the rest of the season were up" 7% as of April 15. He said, "We've had a little weather problem, a little here and there, but I feel pretty good about it." Selig has "noticed the low crowds" at Rogers Centre, Citi Field and other ballparks. Selig: "It doesn't overly bother me. Some clubs it depends on winning and losing. But it's April, schools are still in, weekday games. When you are within 1 or 2 percent, it just doesn't add anything to get concerned about." Selig also noted that he is "against expanding the first round of the playoffs to seven games, a proposal the players' association says it might make during bargaining for a labor contract that would start in December 2011." Blum noted expanding the playoffs was "brought up by Selig's new committee examining on-field matters." Meanwhile, Selig, who has been commissioner since '92, reiterated that he "intends to retire when his contract expires at the end of 2012." But he said, "There are a lot of club owners who don't believe that" (AP, 4/22).

KEEP UP THE PACE: In N.Y., Teri Thompson notes Selig's "14-member committee on improving baseball on the field may have an important announcement soon: How to speed up the pace of games." Selig Thursday said the panel will have "something meaningful soon" to say about the length of games. When asked about his reaction to umpire Joe West's comments earlier this month criticizing the Yankees and Red Sox for their slow pace of play, Selig said that he "would have preferred the veteran ump address the matter internally" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 4/23).

SPRINGTIME SLUMP: SPORTINGNEWS.com's Dan Levy noted overall MLB attendance is "already down from last year." And while the numbers "may prove to be statistically insignificant (down by an average of just 647 fans this year), the numbers for 2010 are clearly buoyed" by the Twins' new Target Field, which has "already seen an increase of nearly 16,000 fans per game this season." It is "clear a team like the Mets benefited from a new ballpark last year as well, as their attendance is already down more than 6,600 fans per contest through nine games, so you may be able to make the numbers work for the opposite argument as well." Levy added, "It's unfortunate that we've come to expect 12,192 fans to show up to PNC Park in Pittsburgh and 11,191 watch the Nationals get over .500 with a win over the Rockies, but under 15,000 fans showed up to see the Padres host the Giants? No more than 17,000 fans showed up to the South Side to see Mark Buehrle against the talented Rays lineup?" (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 4/22).

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