BOB:  Bud Selig speaks

Bud Selig speaks on Rays, Athletics stadiums

In an interview last week, Commissioner Bud Selig said that the Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays need new ballparks to compete. He went on to talk about how the Athletics/San Jose stadium situation has yet to be resolved and he while he was pretty vague, he said he’s optimistic that there will be a resolution. He went on to bash the Oakland Coliseum and said the Athletics can’t compete in a ballpark like that.

He had less details on the Rays situation, but that’s a little stickier because they’ve been able to compete. Winning the arguably best division in baseball a few times makes them a top-notch organization but the way Selig talks, you’d think that’s going to all go away in the blink of an eye if they don’t get a new stadium.

Probably most disturbing were his comments on Wrigley Field and Fenway Park. His ending comment on that subject was, “nothing lasts forever.” He also said that Major League Baseball soon will announce the 2013 and 2014 All-Star Game sites officially, even though it’s a horribly kept secret that 2013 will be at Citi Field and 2014 will be at Target Field.

Baseball still wants details on Dodgers sale

Selig was also making noise about the upcoming Los Angeles Dodgers sale. MLB wants further details on the sale, but Selig said he doesn’t want to try to block the sale (which he can’t anyway).

It looks like the big issue is how much further involvement owner Frank McCourt will have with the team. It looks like McCourt is keeping some of the parking lots in a joint venture with the new prospective ownership group. There are also some concerns about the upcoming ownership structure, but this looks like MLB just wanting to get involved in the process.

At this point, it’s hard to call this anything other than noise. Major League Baseball isn’t going to like McCourt still being in the mix, but there’s not a lot it can do about it short of a drastic measures.

MLB and MLBPA revise contract terms

Major League Baseball and the Players Association (MLBPA) agreed that teams and agents can no longer approve personal-service deals and special marketing payouts for specific milestones. A good example of a milestone deal was Albert Pujols‘ recent contract, under which he receives $3 million for getting his 3,000th hit and $7 million if he breaks Barry Bonds‘ home run record. Pujols also has a clause under which he has the option to take a 10 year, $10 million personal services contract with the team once he retires.

Alex Rodriguez‘, Pujols’, and Ryan Zimmerman‘s recent contract extensions are all grandfathered in and those “special” provisions in their contracts will be upheld. Going forward, those “loopholes” won’t be allowed.

Royals extend contract with Naturals

The Kansas City Royals extended their player development contract through 2016 with their Double-A affiliate, the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. The four-year extension will continue a 17-year relationship between the club and the current ownership group, which has spanned two different locations. The Naturals were the Texas League champions in 2010.

Attendance update

Early attendance numbers can be pretty erratic, but when it comes to breaking records, it’s usually one of the more pivotal months for teams. As it stands, and considering the small sample size, the Philadelphia Phillies lead baseball with an average attendance of 45,448 tickets sold per game. That’s over 3,000 more than the No. 2 New York Yankees with 42,210 per game. Most of the rest of the list is your usual top 10 with the exception of the Texas Rangers, who are currently fifth in attendance with a 40,270 average. Last year they finished 10th. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have the best road attendance, with 39,979 per game.

The Cleveland Indians are at the bottom of the list with an 18,219 average, although they only have five home games to date. The Tampa Bay Rays are off to a better start, and they’re 17th with 29,268 fans per game. In their new ballpark, the Miami Marlins are 15th with an average of 29,442.

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  1. Detroit Michael said...

    Given that Bud Selig is hired by the owners, isn’t he supposed to be determining the health of the sport based on its financial results?  I can’t stand the guy either, but I would lower your expectations for what the Commissioner is supposed to do.

  2. MikeS said...

    I don’t buy the argument that he is hired by the owners so it is his job to make them money.  He has to be hired by somebody and it isn’t going to be the fans. It’s not really practical to give the players a say do he has to be hired by the owners. Maybe I’m being idealistic, but I expect the commissioner to protect the game, not just the owners profits. I expect him to take a perspective longer than the next set of tax returns and some of the problems of the game exist because he hasn’t. All the other commissioners have at least payed more lip service to issues other than money, as have commissioners of other sports.

    Of course, I have similar problems with my elected officials but that’s another rant.

  3. Keven said...

    Why is the milestone compensation, etc. considered a loophole and why would the players association agree to it?  With no salary cap, what is the issue?

  4. Greg Simons said...

    @Keven, it’s a form of performance-based incentive, which go against the standard incentive guidelines.  Normally these are something like 30 HR, 200 strikeouts, 40 saves, etc. in a single year.  Such incentives put the individual above the player, so you can see the potential conflict of interest between winning and achieving personal goals.

    These are a bit different because they’re career milestones, but it’s still easy to see how they could alter a player’s approach, particularly leading up to that milestone.

    Would a player forego a sacrifice hit late in a game in order to swing for the fences to reach homer #757?  Would a pitcher change his typical game plan and go for all strikeouts in a Game 162 that decides a playoff berth if he’s just short of 3000 for his career and knows he won’t be back the next season?

  5. dave silverwood said...

    I feel that Selig has driven us down an evil path with the steroids not being treated with the respect that cheating and downright failure to play on a even playing field and so many other things continued dh use,expansion now expansion of the playoffs and refusals to try to understand the rel problems of baseball—-if only a network had games from the 50s and 60s.

  6. MikeS said...

    Since they seem unable to control player salaries or MLBPA, it seems that MLB’s business model has become extorting free housing out of the taxpayer.  Well, that, pyramid schemes, pocketing revenue sharing checks and borrowing against the team to support a lavish lifestyle.

    I realize that this is a megabucks business and money is needed to keep it going but I can’t remember a commissioner who was so blatant about determining the health of the sport purely by the balance sheet.  There are so many issues that he ignores until he is forced to confront them – competitiive balance, gender and race equality in non-player positions, the international talent pool, substance abuse (both recreational and performance enhancing), even the playing of a summer game in 35 degree weather in April and November. But he’s always way out in front of any “issue” that can be “fixed” with a free stadium.

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