Before the All-Star Game, commissioner Bud Selig held a Town Hall chat through MLB.com. The total transcript of that conversation is nearly 5,000 words, and a lot of it simply isn’t particularly interesting, but here are a few highlights.
What are the prospects for a U.S./Japan World Series and if it happens, what would be the format?
SELIG: Well, that’s my ultimate goal. It will happen long after (my) time is gone but my ultimate goal is to have a real World Series. Imagine the drama in late October of a USA versus Japan or whomever was in the World Series at that time.
Obviously we have not determined format yet but I have talked to the Japanese commissioner, and I know that he thinks it’s a great idea. So I feel good about that. That is the ultimate goal, but many details to be worked out.
Has expansion been considered by Major League Baseball? And if so, when is the earliest that a new team could begin play?
SELIG: So the answer is, I think at 30 teams, I’m very satisfied. We have had two expansions the last couple of decades, and frankly that’s just more than enough right now. So I feel very good at where we are.
Should there be more parity in teams’ payrolls to allow smaller market teams to compete with larger market teams and require teams to spend a minimum amount on payroll?
SELIG: Well, that’s a fair question, ten, 15, 20 years ago. We have more competitive balance than ever before; parity, call it whatever you want.
So, let’s look at this. Oakland is leading the American League West. In the American League East, we have Tampa, two and a half games out today. Remarkable.
And the American League Central, obviously very competitive. In the National League, you’ve got Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, St.Louis fighting. You have Atlanta, a smaller market than New York or Philadelphia, leading the National League East; in the West, Arizona leading.
We have never ever had this kind of competitive balance. This is the most competition we’ve had at every division in the history of our sport.
When will the designated hitter rule either be abolished or extend to all of Major League Baseball?
SELIG: Well, what I would say to you about that, the National League clubs, of course, don’t like it. American League clubs love it.
What I believe is that it’s now 41 years old. I was there, voted for it in 1972. A little controversy between the leagues is really not all bad. My friend, Bill Giles, who is the Chairman of the Philadelphia Phillies, always says that to me, ‘Oh, controversy is bad.’
The only thing that may change it some day is if we have a lot more geographical realignment, which is not on the horizon now. And if you have that, that could be an event that forces the DH either to come in totally or to go out, but at the moment, we are not going to change it.
Are there any steps being taken to bring more instant replay into baseball, if so, when and how will it be used?
SELIG: Yeah, what I have, I have a little committee: Joe Torre, Tony La Russa and John Schuerholz, the president of the Atlanta Braves and one of the great baseball executives over the last 35, 40 years. They are studying it and they are going to make recommendations to me shortly.
They have spent an enormous amount of time on this project, and so I feel very good about where that is and we’ll have some form of instant replay recommendations and hopefully for the 2014 season.
Will the All Star Game continue to determine home field advantage for the World Series?
SELIG: Yes. The answer is well, I’ll tell you why, and I spoke to the writers about it today. Look, before that, we didn’t have a great plan. One year, you got it, the next year I got it, the next year you got it; it wasn’t as though we had some brilliant idea.
What this has done is put a lot of verve back into it. Each league determines its own fate by the way it plays in this game tonight, by who pitches well and who hits and who does everything else, and it has brought real excitement back to the All Star Game. And there really is no other way we can do that. So, yeah, I feel good about it. I do.
Other than a specific ban by the Commissioner, what steps can be taken to ensure that players who were caught using performance enhancing drugs will not be enshrined in the Hall of Fame?
SELIG: Well, you know, the Commissioner doesn’t vote on that. That’s the Baseball Writers Association of America. I don’t have a vote. All I can do is deal with these problems as I am while they are ongoing, and the writers will then be left to make their own judgment.
Associated Press photo