SAY YOU'RE SURPRISED! SELIG SET TO BE NAMED MLB COMMISSIONER
Bud Selig, who has served as MLB's acting commissioner
for nearly six years, "has decided to accept the job" on a
permanent basis, according to Murray Chass of the N.Y.
TIMES. Chass' piece was teased on the front page of the
paper and featured above the fold in the Sports section.
Two sources, one a "high-ranking" MLB official and one who
"is not in baseball but has close contacts with people in
the sport's hierarchy," said that an official announcement
"could be made by" the All-Star Game on July 7. One owner
said the announcement "could be coming in two to four
weeks." Chass writes that the naming of Selig as
commissioner "should surprise no one," and that despite his
statements of non-interest, "[o]verwhelming support from
owners for him to take the job made it possible for him to
agree to take it." Several sources said that "only two or
three" owners were opposed to Selig taking the post. All of
Chass' sources named White Sox Chair Jerry Reinsdorf as one
who opposed the appointment. Giants Owner Peter Magowan and
the Cubs' Tribune Co. were also named as being opposed to
the Selig appointment (N.Y. TIMES, 6/18).
NOT EVERYONE'S BUD? Chass writes that "[o]ne problem"
Selig might have is "public acceptance," since he was the
"face that fans saw" throughout the '94-'95 strike. Another
possible problem may be management's relations with the
MLBPA, as the relationship between Selig and MLBPA Exec Dir
Donald Fehr "deteriorated badly" during the labor dispute,
"reaching the point where Fehr didn't even want to talk to
Selig." Selig's acceptance of the post has prompted some in
MLB to "question whether he was really sincere in his
repeated insistence that he didn't want" it. One senior
club exec said he thought "the whole thing was orchestrated.
[Selig] was telling a small group of people from day one he
wanted it but told everyone else he didn't" (N.Y. TIMES,
6/18). Selig, asked about the report by Tom Haudricourt in
WI said, "There's always been a great deal of speculation on
this matter, but at this point in time I can assure you
there is nothing definitive" (JOURNAL-SENTINEL, 6/18).