The MLB Exec Council yesterday approved a two-year contract extension for Commissioner Bud Selig, according to league sources. The move sets up a vote today by the full body of team owners and a formal announcement of the new deal. Selig last night declined substantive comment following the Exec Council session, but was clearly in jovial spirits, as he retains the sport's top job through '14 in what has become a period of historic success for MLB (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal). MLB.com's Hal Bodley wrote, "It's a no-brainer for both sides. Baseball needs Selig, and he needs baseball. It's that simple." Giants CEO Larry Baer said Selig has been effective because "he is so steeped in the game, so sensitive to everybody's team -- ownership issues and, quite frankly, player issues -- having been a team owner himself." Yankees President Randy Levine said, "He knows everyone and takes the time to understand their points of view." Former MLB VP/PR Rich Levin: "People tend to underestimate him. He's one of the smartest persons I've [known]. He doesn't forget a thing and has more energy than people half his age" (MLB.com, 1/11). In San Diego, Tim Sullivan writes Selig has become "the most inconspicuously effective commissioner in sports." Sullivan: "Whatever he lacks as a figurehead -- the commanding presence, the soaring rhetoric, charisma, decisiveness, gravitas -- Selig excels behind the scenes" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 1/12).
FOR LOVE OF THE GAME: FOXSPORTS.com's Tracy Ringolsby writes Selig "may talk about his fascination with history, but his love is baseball, and he has the ideal job for a baseball fanatic." Anyone who "looks at Selig’s tenure will realize his passion for baseball has brought about an era of greatness." Sports historians "will eventually have to admit that Selig did more for the game than any other man who has ever held the job, except for Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis." Ringolsby: "Selig has his detractors. Any leader does. But more than that, he has his supporters, particularly among ownership." Selig "brought credibility to the office of commissioner because there no longer was a false front that the commissioner was a man who was just as concerned about the wants of the leadership of the Major League Baseball Players Association as he was the owners" (FOXSPORTS.com, 1/12). ESPN.com's Howard Bryant wrote through Selig's actions, "it's clear he is doing what he's always wanted to do." It has "always been difficult to understand why he has talked about leaving in the first place." In nearly "every sense of the word, Selig has won." He can "claim credit for the most prolific era of stadium building since before World War I, he has successfully brokered interleague play and wild-card playoff baseball, and he's now negotiated a third consecutive labor contract with the players association without a strike or lockout while watching the NFL and the NBA be immolated by work stoppages." Perhaps the "most remarkable part of the Selig journey the past several years is his ability to reach these accomplishments without really having to drop his leadership hammer on his sport, or having had the hammer drop on him." Selig even "overcame what was expected to be his Watergate: the steroid era." With baseball "in the shape it is, now might be the perfect time for Selig to leave." He has "nothing left to prove, really, which may be precisely why the owners are leaning on him to stay" (ESPN.com, 1/11).