SBD/March 7, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Selig Expresses Satisification With First Labor Talks With MLBPA

Selig hopeful World Series ratings will improve this season
MLB Commissioner Bud Selig Saturday said that he was "satisfied with the first round of collective bargaining" for a new CBA that took place between MLB and MLBPA reps last week, according to Barry Bloom of MLB.com. The current CBA expires on Dec. 11, and Selig said that another bargaining session "would take place in Arizona" this week. Selig said baseball "has never been more popular," and there are "a lot of different reasons for that, but one of the primary reasons has to be labor peace." Selig: "What we all underestimated is how badly (all the acrimony) hurt us. Every two, three years that's all people were reading about." Meanwhile, Selig also "fielded questions about other areas." He said that "despite speculation to the contrary, contraction of franchises is not on the table for these contract negotiations." Selig: "Nobody ever talks to me about it. I find it interesting, because it hasn't been something I've talked about or we've talked about. It hasn't been on the table." Bloom noted last year's Giants-Rangers World Series earned "record-low ratings," and Selig said he hopes "postseason ratings this year are going to be better." Selig: "We're going to do a lot of things to try to deal with that. [We] have a lot of ideas, I've been kicking them around. I've been talking to Fox and Turner a lot" (MLB.com, 3/5). MLBPA Exec Dir Michael Weiner said he does not think it is "likely that the owners are going to try to contract." Weiner: "All I would say is if that changes, if contraction becomes a goal of the owners in this negotiation, the tenor of the talks would change quickly and dramatically" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 3/6).

PLAYING FAVORITES: In L.A., Bill Shaikin writes Selig would like Mets Owner Fred Wilpon "to stay" and Dodgers Owner Frank McCourt "to go." Selig has "not put it quite so bluntly, of course." But last week he said he has "great affection and great respect" for Wilpon, and then said, "I'm not going to discuss the L.A. situation. Thank you for asking." Wilpon "asked Selig to loan him $25 million from the commissioner's discretionary fund, and Selig said yes," while McCourt "asked Selig to approve a loan of about $200 million from Fox -- with not a penny from the commissioner's fund -- and Selig said no." Shaikin: "His actions speak for him." Selig "bristled when asked how he would justify approving a loan to one financially strapped owner but not another." He said, "Every situation is radically different from the other. To compare one situation and say, 'Well, you did this but you didn't do that,' if all the facts are similar, that's a different story. But they're not similar" (L.A. TIMES, 3/6).
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