Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig answered fan questions through MLB.com on Monday, hitting on topics like instant replay, the designated hitter and the new playoff format. The Associated Press passed along some of the highlights from the question and answer session.
Selig: “No matter what you do in either picking the rosters or players for Home Run Derby, somebody is going to have a controversy. The (captains) are picked, then the players invite the contestants. I think that’s great. I love players doing that themselves. I certainly wouldn’t want to tell Robinson Cano or Matt Kemp who they could pick or not pick. By the way, to their everlasting credit, they get their guys, too. We used to have a lot of cancelations. Now everybody wants to do it.”
With World Series home-field advantage at stake in the All-Star Game, should fans have the power to select the starting lineup at the ballot box?
Selig: “I like the voting the way it is. I want to make a point about the All-Star Game. The only people unhappy are those who didn’t get in. Everybody wanted to come. Everybody wanted to be a part of it. It’s exactly the way we like it.”
Can replay be used more effectively?
Selig: “We’ve gone to replay. We’re going to expand it, when we get all the proper cameras, for what I call bullets (fair or foul) hit down the left- and right-field lines, plus trap plays in the outfield. I must tell you that within baseball, there is not a great appetite for any more instant replay. It is a game of pace. You have to be careful you’re not interrupting the game every five or 10 minutes. But we’ll continue to watch it.”
Could future All-Star weekends include more skill challenges?
Selig: “We’ve talked about that, but we’re so busy now. We’re jammed from A to Z and you don’t want to do too much to the players. We’re asking them to do a lot now, and you don’t want to over do it. You don’t want anybody getting hurt. I don’t think this event needs too much more.”
How silly would it be if some basketball games included a three-point shot and others didn’t? Isn’t that the same as one league using the designated hitter and the other not?
Selig: “I’ve often said that it will take some cataclysmic event to maybe clean that up one way or another. … Looking at all the popularity and attendance figures, I guess our fans seem to like the way it is, and that’s very important to me. I don’t think the difference in rules has really hurt us at all. And it’s been 40 years now, so the grand old game is doing pretty well.”
Is it fair that the winners of the one-game playoff between the two wild-card teams will remain at home to face the division winner with the best record in the Division Championship Series?
Selig: “This year to get the one-game playoff we had to change some things. Next year, it will go back to 2-2-1. Agreement came so late and the schedule had already been drawn, so this was the only thing we could do. I’m not so sure that this isn’t fair anyway. But you can debate that. The clubs wanted (expanded playoffs) this year, and the commissioner wanted it this year very badly. All I can tell you is I haven’t had a complaint from any of the 30 clubs. Everyone is thrilled.”
Labor peace for nearly two decades, attendance records, small-market Pittsburgh leading the division at the break, baseball’s kind of on a roll, yes?
Selig: “Someday we’ll look back on this as the golden era of baseball, no question about it. They’ll look at attendance numbers, revenue numbers, popularity and say, ‘Wow, for a sport that many people in the last 50 or 70 years have written off, it’s a great story.’ ”
Associated Press photo