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Published October 24, 2011
ALCOHOL BAN CONSIDERED: Torre yesterday said that MLB is considering a leaguewide ban on alcohol in team clubhouses following this month's controversy involving Red Sox players drinking at Fenway Park. "It's something we're concerned about," Torre said. "I have some plans to talk to people. I'm going to look at it and find the best way to approach it. I have no trouble talking about that behavior." Nearly half of MLB teams already have bans on alcohol in their clubhouses. Rules, however, are typically relaxed after games and during flights. "We're up there and we're role models, or we should be role models for the youngsters and how they behave" (Fisher). Selig added that the "clubhouse drinking by the Sox was something that bothered him." Selig: "You never like to hear that. I'm very image-conscious about the sport and that's a great, proud franchise" (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/24).
UPDATE ON CBA TALKS: Selig said CBA talks with the MLBPA continue to be "productive" and meetings continue to be held regularly, including another session yesterday. But he declined to put a specific timetable on when a final deal might arrive. A new agreement is anticipated within several weeks, according to several industry sources. The current five-year pact expires Dec. 11 (Fisher). Selig said the issues MLB would like to see addressed in the new CBA are “competitive balance, slotting and a worldwide draft.” He said the bottom 12 teams in MLB “have been disadvantaged” and that “wasn’t the purpose of the draft.” Meanwhile, Selig said he wants to go to blood testing for HGH in MLB. Selig: "I want to pat us on the back. I’ve been doing that in the minor leagues. It’s worked very successfully … and I want to bring that to the major leagues. … It’ll be another step in our program of how we’ve dealt with all these things. We’re in negotiations" (MLB Network, 10/21). Selig added that realignment "before the 2012 season remains unlikely ... but there is a tentative schedule for the possibility in 2013." He said that he would "like to see expanded playoffs, despite the dramatic final day of the regular season." USA TODAY's Peter Barzilai notes the drama that resulted in the Rays and Cardinals making the postseason when the Red Sox and Braves lost "would have been absent with an expanded playoff format" (USA TODAY, 10/24).
HAPPY WITH ALL-STAR GAME FORMAT: Selig said that despite the Cardinals being the wild-card team and having home-field advantage in the World Series, he is still “happy” with the system of rewarding home-field advantage to the league that wins the All-Star Game. He said, “There was no great way to do it. ... I like this. Players play hard. We’re doing more by the way. We’ll do more for next year to make sure we have better representation.” Selig noted there could be an announcement about changes to the All-Star Game and with regards to the issue of players not showing up to the game after being named to the team, Selig said, “I will expect everybody to be there" (MLB Network, 10/21).
DEADLINE GIVEN IN EPSTEIN DEAL: In Boston, Peter Abraham reports Selig "has given the Red Sox and Cubs a Nov. 1 deadline to determine compensation" for Theo Epstein. If a deal is not agreed to by the deadline, Selig "will step in and mediate." Epstein officially resigned as Red Sox GM Friday to become Cubs President of Baseball Operations. He will "negotiate the compensation for his services with his successor with the Sox, Ben Cherington." The two teams "have suspended talks until Epstein is introduced in Chicago tomorrow and Cherington officially takes over in Boston" (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/24). Selig said, "They have until Nov. 1, Theo and Ben and all the other parties involved. Hopefully they can get things done. I always encourage clubs to try to get things done between themselves. ... They either get it done or they won't. If they don't, then I will" (Fisher).
GRIFFEY HONORED: Selig yesterday gave his Commissioner's Historic Achievement Award to former MLBer Ken Griffey Jr. In addition to a HOF-caliber on-field career, Selig lauded Griffey for "staying out of controversy," and playing an instrumental role in active players wearing uniform No. 42 on Jackie Robinson Day. The uniform tradition first seen in '07, is now an annual staple each April 15. "I hope the next generation of players emulate Ken Griffey Jr.," Selig said. Griffey is the 12th recipient of the award since its formation in '98 and first since Rachel Robinson, widow of Jackie Robinson, in '07 (Fisher). Griffey said, "It's very humbling. One of the things I said to Bud when he told me was, 'Are you sure,' and he said yes. ... The hands of a lot of people hold part of that trophy other than mine" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 10/24).