SBJ/September 21 - 27, 1998/No Topic Name

Salary talk dominates meeting

MILWAUKEE — They discussed much but did little. That's what came from the latest quarterly baseball owners' meetings, held last week in Milwaukee, home of baseball's newly confirmed commissioner, Bud Selig.

Selig announced action on only two items:

¥ The passage of a rule to allow an owner, or entity, to hold shares in more than one franchise, so long as those shares constitute less than a 5 percent stake and the owner meets "stringent guidelines," including a lack of decision-making power.

¥ The transfer of controlling interest in the Brewers from Selig to his daughter, Wendy, a move that was required in order for Selig to become commissioner.

The owners also heard updates on all stadium projects that are under way or planned, briefings on the progress of franchise sales in Florida, Minnesota and Kansas City, and reviewed results of several fan polls and focus groups conducted this year, Selig said. Selig did not reveal the results of those surveys, which dealt with issues such as realignment and fan preferences.

The bulk of the meeting was spent outlining salary disparity, Selig said. The postseason has been dominated by teams with high payrolls for the last five seasons.

"It was an in-depth discussion on the economics of the game," Selig said. "In spite of the fact that we're doing well, there are some things economically that we're going to have to deal with. We need to do it in a very quiet, albeit aggressive manner."

Selig pointed to baseball's current revenue-sharing methods as a partial remedy but said that others must be implemented.

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