SBD/July 16, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Selig Staying In Contact With Commissioner Committee, Expects Replacement By January

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Selig said he regrets not preventing a work stoppage in '94
MLB Commissioner Bud Selig yesterday said that he has been in regular contact with the recently appointed owner committee to identify his successor and he is "very optimistic" the league's 10th commissioner will be named before his planned retirement in January. The panel of seven owners is being led by the Cardinals' Bill DeWitt Jr. Selig said, "The group is doing fine. Quiet. Thoughtful. The process has worked exactly the way I thought it would." Selig did not go into detail regarding the group's progress to date, but acknowledged there has been "lots of conversation" between him and the committee (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer). In Phoenix, Dan Bickley writes MLB needs Selig's replacement to be "someone who thinks young and progressive, a baseball guy who is also versed in marketing, communication and social media." D-Backs President & CEO Derrick Hall is the "ideal candidate, even if his departure would represent another loss" for the team. Hall said he has not been approached by the search committee, and Bickley notes there is "skepticism among those who believe Hall is too non-traditional, too much of an outsider to take over the big chair." One MLB exec "scoffed at Hall's candidacy a few months ago." But in previous conversations, D-Backs Managing General Partner Ken Kendrick has "never discounted the idea." Bickley: "I've heard that Hall will at least make the list of candidates and has been told as much in private" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 7/16).

LEAVING THINGS IN A BETTER STATE: USA TODAY's Bob Nightengale writes MLB "might not be quite the same without Selig, who is leaving the game in a much better place than when he arrived 22 years ago." The league "still has issues, and a few will be sitting on the desk for the next commissioner." However, with the sport generating nearly $9B in revenue, players earning an average salary of $3.3M with no salary cap and the Dodgers recently selling for $2.15B, there is "enough to wash away all of the blemishes." Yankees SS Derek Jeter said, "The industry is doing a lot better now monetarily. Just look at the attendance; it's higher than it's ever been. Salaries are higher than they've ever been. Teams are making more money than they ever have." Nightengale notes for Selig, it is "clear how he wants his legacy defined." Selig: "When it's all said and done, I'd say the economic reformation of the sport, because there have been so many manifestations of that. We have the best competitive balance we've ever had, and it's led to so many other things" (USA TODAY, 7/16). In N.Y., Tyler Kepner writes Selig "leaves baseball in better shape than it was when he took over." Target Field, which held the All-Star festivities this week, is a "fitting a symbol of Selig’s tenure," as securing it was a "thorny issue that took complicated maneuvering, with mistakes and hurt feelings along the way." But the end result is "something better and more sustainable than what had gone before." Kepner: "Ignore all the bad stuff in between, and the before-and-after images of the Selig era striking" (N.Y. TIMES, 7/16). In Boston, Dan Shaughnessy writes Selig at last night's MLB All-Star Game was "taking a victory lap." Selig will "undoubtedly go down as the 'Steroid Commissioner,'" but otherwise it has been a "pretty good run." Selig is "easily harpooned and mistakes have been made, but none of baseball’s other eight commissioners could possibly match his love for the game and respect for its history" (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/16).

DON'T LOOK BACK IN ANGER: Selig was interviewed during Fox' coverage of last night's All-Star Game and reflected on the one thing he wished he could have done differently during his tenure as commissioner." He said, "I don't know if I could have done anything different, but I will say the '94 World Series. We had a work stoppage. It was the eighth work stoppage in my baseball career. You probably could see it coming. Now, I'm proud of the fact we've had 22 years of labor peace, but do I wish somehow there would have been a way to stop that? I do" (“2014 MLB All-Star Game,” Fox, 7/15).
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