MLB.com's Richard Justice wrote MLB Commissioner Bud Selig's "most remarkable accomplishment is one almost no one talks about anymore." Selig "got the owners to speak with one voice," and it was Selig who "decided baseball people needed to be doing baseball negotiations." Justice: "Selig's fingerprints were on everything. Baseball's 16-year labor peace has come about, in part, because he insisted the lines of communication remain open" (MLB.com, 12/17). Meanwhile, MLBPA Exec Dir Michael Weiner appeared on SiriusXM's MLB Network Radio Friday and said of Brewers LF Ryan Braun's positive drug test, "Our process contemplates that any appeal that a player [has] will occur before there's a disclosure of the test. In this case that didn't happen and I'm not going to get into why it didn't happen. ... It is unfortunate. It really is a shame for Ryan that he did not get the benefit of the confidentiality agreement or provisions that are in our agreement" (JSONLINE.com, 12/18).
UPHILL BATTLE: In L.A., Jim Peltz writes IndyCar and its CEO Randy Bernard "must overcome several issues still weighing on their effort to boost the sport's popularity." The series "is rolling out a new race car whose ultimate performance is yet unknown," and the job "of series race director remains unfilled." IndyCar is "grappling to find a financially viable balance of races on oval tracks and those on twisty street and road courses." Bernard said, "We need to take a step back and truly understand what our fans want to see on those ovals, because the product we were providing -- besides the Indy 500 and Texas and Iowa -- we've had marginal success at best." IndyCar has not replaced President of Competition & Racing Brian Barnhart, but Bernard said a successor "has to be in place before the first of the year. ... We're very close to selecting one" (L.A. TIMES, 12/19).
HEIR TO THE THRONE: YAHOO SPORTS' Jonathan Wall wrote with each passing event, the LPGA's Lexi Thompson "continues to look more and more like the real deal." Thompson won the European Tour's Dubai Ladies Masters Saturday, and the LPGA "has been waiting [for] a young star to come along and shake up the tour." Wall: "For the longest time everyone thought that was Michelle Wie. But after watching Thompson hoist the trophy on Saturday in Dubai, maybe we were wrong all along. For the moment it looks like a 16-year-old with an extremely bright future is the tour's heir apparent" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 12/17).