Major League Baseball has announced that league owners have given commissioner Bud Selig an extension that runs through 2014. Here’s the entire announcement, with comments from various owners.
PARADISE VALLEY, AZ – Major League Baseball Club owners voted to extend the contract of Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig through the 2014 season, it was announced today.
The Executive Council placed the two-year extension in nomination after requesting of Selig that he remain in the position past the expiration of his contract on December 31, 2012.
Paul Beeston, the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Toronto Blue Jays, said: “I am very pleased that Commissioner Selig remained open to the wishes of the Clubs and has agreed to continue in a role in which he excels. The great prosperity of the game today is a reflection of Bud’s record of accomplishment. He is uniquely suited to handle the demands of his position and serve as the leader of Major League Baseball.”
Commissioner Selig said: “It is an honor to be asked to continue to serve the game of Baseball, and I thank the Clubs for their confidence in the direction in which we have taken the game. This is an extraordinary era for Major League Baseball. The focus is on the field, competitive balance is strong, and fans around the world are supporting our game in unprecedented fashion. I am very humbled by the request to stay on, and I look forward to building on the great momentum our game has seen in recent years.”
Selig has led the industry since September 9, 1992, first as interim Commissioner and then as the ninth Commissioner in the history of Major League Baseball, a position to which he was elected on July 9, 1998. This marks the fourth extension for the Commissioner, who agreed to new three-year contracts in 2001, 2004 and 2008. Only the first Commissioner, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, who served from January 12, 1921 until his passing on November 25, 1944, accumulated more experience as the leader of the sport than Selig.
David Montgomery, the General Partner and President of the Philadelphia Phillies and a member of the Executive Council, said: “No one understands the landscape of our sport better than Bud Selig. The Commissioner’s vision for the game has brought consensus among the Clubs and a sense of unanimity that has allowed the game to thrive. I am delighted that the Commissioner will continue to set the course for our great game.”
William O. DeWitt, Jr., the Chairman and Principal Owner of the St. Louis Cardinals and a member of the Executive Council, added: “I am grateful that Commissioner Selig is prepared to stay right where he is. The Commissioner’s determination, patience and reverence for the game and its history have served this industry extraordinarily well since 1992. The Commissioner is focused on results, and the results speak for themselves. Bud Selig remains the perfect choice to lead Major League Baseball into the future.”
The last eight years have been the eight best-attended seasons in the history of Major League Baseball, including four successive record seasons from 2004-2007. The 2007 season featured a record regular season attendance total of 79,503,175 fans. Industry revenues have increased from $1.2 billion in 1992, when Selig became interim Commissioner, to more than $7.0 billion in each of the last two seasons. Selig’s accomplishments as Commissioner include the following:
· With a new five-year labor agreement, Major League Baseball will have had at least 21 years of uninterrupted play by the end of the 2016 season. Three consecutive labor agreements have been reached without a work stoppage.
· Significant economic reforms have resulted in drastically improved competitive balance. Under the Revenue Sharing Plan, MLB Clubs transfer approximately $400 million in local revenue, which is the most in professional sports. Nine of the last 11 World Series Champions have been different Clubs. Only the Red Sox (2004, 2007) and the Cardinals (2006, 2011) have won more than once during that span. Nineteen Clubs have made the Postseason over the last five years, and 24 Clubs have made the Postseason over the last 10 years.
· MLB will add two additional Wild Cards and shift to a 10-team Postseason in either 2012 or 2013, while maintaining the most exclusive Postseason format in American professional sports. Under the new system, clubs are further incentivized for winning their division. Selig implemented fan-friendly innovations such as the Wild Card, the six-division format and Interleague Play.
· Under the new labor agreement, MLB will become the first American professional sports league to conduct blood testing of its athletes for Human Growth Hormone (hGH). The hGH testing program continues MLB’s multifaceted approach against performance-enhancing substances, hinged on increased testing, cutting-edge research, improved education and awareness, and proactive security efforts. MLB has worked with the MLB Players Association to implement the best and most comprehensive drug program in professional sports.
· By the opening of the 2012 season, when the New Marlins Ballpark will debut, 20 new ballparks throughout Major League Baseball will have opened since Selig became interim Commissioner.
· MLB and the MLBPA have partnered to host two editions of the World Baseball Classic, the most extensive international baseball event ever ventured, with a third in development for the 2013 season.
· Under the Commissioner’s leadership, Major League Baseball launched MLB Advanced Media and MLB Network.