Chatting with fans, Selig hits key points
Commissioner discusses use of replay, among other subjects
ANAHEIM -- Commissioner Bud Selig answered a variety of questions -- some submitted online, others asked by those among an overflow crowd -- during a his 10th annual Town Hall-type event Tuesday at All-Star FanFest at the Anaheim Convention Center.
Among the topics Major League Baseball's ninth Commissioner discussed was the expansion of instant replay."I've said that I would study it," Selig said. "There has been little interest among players, managers, general managers and owners for more replay, but it's something we'll continue to review. I don't like to say no, but at the moment, I don't see it being expanded." The show, moderated by MLB.com's Jim Duquette and carried live on an Internet video feed, began with the former MLB GM asking a few questions of his own, including one regarding the likelihood of instituting a plan to minimize economic disparity between Major League clubs. "That's one of the things that frustrates me," Selig said. "I've said before that we have more competitive balance than any other sport. We've had more teams that have made the playoffs. We've had more teams that went to the World Series. The idea that baseball has a problem in this area just isn't true. "Let me say this to you: When I took over in 1992, there was no revenue sharing. This year, there will be $450 million in revenue sharing. Is the system perfect? No. Does it need some work? Yes, but all systems do. This is what's frustrating: In first place right now are the Cincinnati Reds, the San Diego Padres and the Texas Rangers. We've got other small- and medium-market clubs doing well. This sport has never had competitive balance like this." Via the Internet, Selig was asked if he's leaning toward Miami, with its new a ballpark set to open in 2012, when he assigns future All-Star Games past the recently announced Kansas City festivities in 2012. The answer: Leaning? Yes. Awarded yet? No. "In a lot of cases, we've made a commitment -- if you build a ballpark, you'll get an All-Star Game," Selig said. "We're trying to do the best we can. We'll work our way through everything, but we can't make everybody happy right now." Any change in the offing for rules regarding home-field advantage in the World Series? Best records during the regular season rather than winner of the All-Star Game? The short answer: No. "I love [the way it is now], and I'll tell you why," Selig said. "It goes back to the days when the National League wanted to win. Since we changed this rule [in 2003], there's been an amazing intensity. Players want to play in this game now. It has worked." In other significant areas: Will the A's be allowed to move from Oakland to San Jose, thus encroaching on territory claimed by the San Francisco Giants? The answer: Not yet. "We have a committee very hard at work [on this]," Selig said. "This is a very sensitive and a very difficult decision. We need to study all of the ramifications. This is taking a little longer than we would've liked, but the idea is to get it right. The committee has not come back to me." In that vein, Selig was also asked about the Tampa Bay Rays and their efforts to get a new ballpark in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area. Are there any attractive markets outside of Florida for the team to relocate? "They need a new stadium, no question," Selig said. "I know I've had to say that in a lot of other places and people are not very happy about it, but to be economically viable, you need to have a new stadium. Having said that, [Rays ownership] has been working very diligently with people down there. And hopefully they can construct a stadium that will help them stay in that area." Any chance of playing a day game during the World Series? There hasn't been one since the Padres lost to the Tigers in Game 5 of the 1984 Fall Classic. "When I was a kid, they were all played during the day, and I loved it. It was great," Selig said. "We're continuing to talk about it. That's all I can tell you. The networks' daytime schedules on Saturday and Sunday are very, very tough, so there's a practical problem. But we're willing to talk about it and it would be perfect if it could be worked out." Interleague Play? Here to stay. "I love Interleague Play," he said. "[Our attendance] was up 18 percent this year during Interleague Play. The fans like it, and I'm proud that we did it. That's the one thing baseball did for many years -- refused to change. The fact of the matter is that Interleague Play is good for the sport. People enjoy it." From a young fan in attendance: Any more expansion coming? "Not in the near future," Selig said. "We have 30 teams. We've gone to all the areas we needed to go. We've taken care of most of our franchise problems with new stadiums. We've had a lot of expansion. We've gone from 16 to 30 teams, and right now we're comfortable with that number."
Selig also said that for the second time this year, the 30 general managers have been invited to the upcoming quarterly Owners' Meetings on Aug. 11-12 in Minneapolis.
After the session, conducted during the All-Star FanFest at the Anaheim Convention Center, the Commissioner spent additional time taking pictures and autographing baseballs for fans.