How long before Commissioner Selig's term expires?
This requires a Java-enabled browser.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Bud Selig Unplugged

The title refers neither to life-support systems nor to cutting him off in mid-speech -- it's a long interview with the Commissioner, conducted by T.J. Quinn of the New York Daily News. A few highlights:

Bud says interleague play was almost adopted in 1973:

"I can tell you just on inter-league play we had a deal done in 1973 and the National League guys killed it. We had a deal done - we had deal done with the commissioner, both league presidents. Frank Dale, who was running the Cincinnati Reds - was also the publisher of the Cincinnati Enquirer - he and I sat and we had a six-game interleague play deal done. It was done."
Not according to my notes, it wasn't.

The February 3, 1973 Sporting News reported that the AL thought the NL would go along if the interleague games were added to the regular season, making it 168 games. However, the AL declined to make a formal proposal because the parties were negotiating a new CBA and the MLBPA had proposed shortening the season to 154 games.

After that CBA was signed, the owners in each league voted separately on interleague play. The September 1, 1973 Sporting News reported that when votes were actually taken, the AL unanimously favored interleague play and the NL unanimously opposed it. Commissioner Bowie Kuhn, a supporter, "resolved" the issue by appointing a steering committee to study the question.

The Commissioner insists he won't approve ads on uniforms (at least for games in the United States -- he'a already approved them for the early Opening Days in Japan): "I'm telling you right now, we aren't going to have advertising on uniforms."

Bud on contraction:

What people never wanted to understand, is that, here's what fueled contraction - it was all owners, but it was really big-market owners. Once we go to revenue sharing, the big clubs have a right to ask, what is the gross revenue of a club? How much did they get in revenue sharing, and what are they doing to change their own internal dynamic? And they had a right to ask the commissioner, "How long can we expect that to go on?" If I would have to guess today, I would have to think, as long as I'm commissioner, we won't have to look at contraction.
Or in simpler terms, "The Expos and Twins were egregiously abusing the revenue sharing system by taking money and refusing to reinvest it in players. With no enforceable way of making them spend the money properly, the owners who were writing them the checks decided they'd rather write one big check (and get the other clubs to share the cost) than an endless series of smaller checks."

Bud on labor issues:

But the problems from our standpoint - the labor union didn't deal with the problems so the problems kept being exacerbated by non-action. We dealt with it - we have a tax, we have a debt-service rule, all those other things, so I'm satisfied we've dealt with our problems.
And it looks like I'll be resetting my countdown clock:

Q: Are you considering retirement after the next CBA?

A: My response to a question was are you still having fun and I said I'm not sure I'd use "fun" to describe what I'm doing. But it's very challenging. I've done this all my adult life and my contact's up at the end of 2006, at which time I'll be 71 years old. I've said to a lot of people, "I promise you now we'll talk about it in the next year." And I'm open to staying but we'll see what happens. So I have two and a half years - longer than that, maybe.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?