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SBD/April 4, 2012/MLB Season Preview
Selig Optimistic About '12 MLB Season, Projects Second Straight Attendance Increase
Published April 4, 2012
READY TO GET THE SEASON STARTED: Selig appeared on ESPN Radio’s “Mike & Mike in the Morning” today and addressed some of the issues facing the league. ESPN’s Mike Greenberg noted the “biggest addition” to MLB this year is the additional Wild Card team. Selig said, “The more I watched, the more I said to myself, ‘We really need two more teams.’ Ten out of 30 is not a bad number, it’s a good number. It isn’t like we’re doing anything to make it easy to get into the playoffs. On the contrary, we still have the lowest number of teams in the playoffs of any sport.” He added the new Wild Card position “puts a premium on winning your division.” Selig called Brewers LF Ryan Braun’s successful appeal of his 50-game suspension for violating the league’s performance-enhancement policy “unusual.” Selig: “There’s no question that it was startling to everyone who was there, but it’s up to (MLBPA Exec Dir) Mike Weiner and (MLB Exec VP/Labor Relations & HR) Rob Manfred to work out any changes that they may want to make. I’m not sure after talking to all of our experts that we really need to make any changes cause the same procedures we’ve used on the other 4,800 tests we’ve had no problem. … All it proves is we have the toughest testing program in sports, but yet there’s an appeal procedure that is fair.” The Marlins host the Cardinals tonight in the first regular-season game in the U.S. after the A’s and Mariners split two games in Tokyo last week. Selig called the Japan Games a “great success.” He said, “This is the only time we can do it. We need to internationalize this sport. … I heard from both the Seattle and Oakland teams, they loved being there. It was a huge success for baseball on-the-field and off-the-field. Do I think it took away from the games that are starting this week? Absolutely not” (“Mike & Mike in the Morning,” ESPN Radio, 4/4).
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE: FOXSPORTS.com’s Tracy Ringolsby wrote under the header, “Give Selig Credit For MLBs Success.” Selig’s legacy “includes having been in charge of the sport during one of its stormy periods.” He “weathered the storm, and has brought about the most prosperous eras in the history of the sport, including the top eight attendance totals in baseball history the last eight years, and soaring values of franchises.” Ringolsby wrote Selig could “well go down as having had the biggest overall impact of any commissioner in history of the game.” He had his “challenges," including cancelling the ‘94 World Series and the steroid scandal, but a positive “came out of both.” Selig’s tenure has “included the building of new stadiums” for 20 of MLB’s 30 teams, the expansion from 24 to 30 teams and “realignment into three divisions per league.” Nothing, however, “ranks in Selig’s mind like the revenue-sharing plan he was able to get the teams to adopt, the key element of ‘an economic overhaul.’” Selig said that “that has helped the game create better parity on the field” (FOXSPORTS.com, 4/3).