Tue Jul 13 07:51pm EDT
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Bud Selig addressed a roomful of baseball writers Tuesday who had one eye on the commissioner and the other on an appealing buffet spread, the soup cooling and lettuce wilting a bit more with each of Selig's tangents.
Eventually the writers filled their bellies, and Selig had filled their notebooks, too. Then players' association chief Michael Weiner spoke while writers nibbled on fruit tarts and chocolate fudge for dessert.
All in all, not a bad way to spend the lunch hour.
To the chagrin of Yahoo! Sports columnist Jeff Passan, Selig reiterated his unwavering support for the All-Star Game continuing to determine World Series home-field advantage.
"I really like it," Selig said. "You look at the intensity of the games after [the rule was implemented]. We had lost our luster. Players had their limos lined up and were leaving the park in the fourth inning. Now they are standing on the dugout rail."
Weiner acknowledged that Fox had requested the rule to make the All-Star Game more meaningful for television. He added that the consensus among players is that it isn't a good way to determine World Series home-field advantage, but it didn't seem to be a major issue.
• Tinkering with the schedule to pull the World Series back from the bitter cold of late fall. "I live in fear of November," Selig said.
The All-Star break might be trimmed to two days, but otherwise Selig said finding ways to condense 162 games into fewer than about 181 days is problematic. He said that one year he proposed a return to a 154-game schedule and thought he had the support of at least a few owners. But when he made a motion to discuss it at the owners' meeting, "It died for a lack of a second motion," he said.
• Selig seemed to credit baseball's steroids testing program for the superior pitching in baseball this season. "Pitching has clearly taken over," he said. "I know some people think there is a reason, and if they are right, then I guess our policies have worked quite well."
• After speaking to federal lawmakers "on both sides of the aisle," the Arizona immigration reform law is not an area Selig believes baseball could impact, so he won't pull next year's All-Star Game from Phoenix. "We'll do things when baseball can influence decisions," he said.
Weiner explained the union's earlier statement denouncing the law by saying that the response was not politically driven, but merely recognized the potential negative impact on union members given the large number of players who aren't U.S. citizens. Minor league players as young as 16 are sent by many clubs to the Arizona Rookie League, and half of MLB conducts spring training in Arizona.
"No one knows exactly how it will be enforced, and that's why we talked about its ‘potential impact,'" he said. "So many players are required by contract to spend a substantial amount of time in Arizona."
• Not even the Jim Joyce-Armando Galarraga(notes) perfect blemish convinced Selig that more replay is necessary, or even desirable. He basically leaned on a majority rules rationale. “I find it very interesting that when I talk to managers, general managers, owners and players, there is little if any appetite for more replay,” he said.
• Weiner also said a key issue that will be addressed in collective bargaining after the 2011 season is the Super Two rule that has prompted teams to keep top prospects in the minor leagues until early June to push back their arbitration clock by a year. The rule impacted when David Price(notes), Matt Wieters(notes), Stephen Strasburg(notes), Buster Posey(notes) and others were promoted the last two years.
"That kind of manipulation shouldn't occur," Weiner said.
And with that, the writers burped and headed to the stadium.