Selig announces retirement and transition plan

This release came in this afternoon from MLB:

Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig formally announced today that he will retire upon the completion of his current term, which runs through January 24, 2015.

Commissioner Selig said: “It remains my great privilege to serve the game I have loved throughout my life. Baseball is the greatest game ever invented, and I look forward to continuing its extraordinary growth and addressing several significant issues during the remainder of my term.

“I am grateful to the owners throughout Major League Baseball for their unwavering support and for allowing me to lead this great institution. I thank our players, who give me unlimited enthusiasm about the future of our game. Together we have taken this sport to new heights and have positioned our national pastime to thrive for generations to come. Most of all, I would like to thank our fans, who are the heart and soul of our game.”

Commissioner Selig will announce shortly a transition plan in preparation for his retirement, which will reorganize centralized Major League Baseball management.

Selig has led Major League Baseball since September 9, 1992, when, as Chairman of the Major League Executive Council, he became interim Commissioner. He was unanimously elected Baseball’s ninth Commissioner on July 9, 1998.

Last year Selig indicated that his time as Commissioner would cease with the end of the current term. Selig has been extended twice at the request of the owners, who are very comfortable with him at the helm. And why shouldn’t they be? Since the 1994 strike, Selig has presided over more labor peace than the other three big leagues, while overseeing an unprecedented economic expansion (for baseball, at least). If we’re looking at the job Selig has done in terms of protecting The Lodge’s interests, he deserves an A. When it comes to other aspects of the game (drugs, replay and technology, rules), Selig hasn’t fared nearly as well.

Despite being left hanging by Selig on the San Jose matter, Lew Wolff continues to steadfastly support his fraternity brother.

“This is absolute confirmation of what I was hoping might not happen.”

Wolff has been consistent in saying that he prefers to act in the interest of the game first instead of his own (the A’s), a stance that keeps The Lodge out of potential infighting but frustrates A’s fans to no end.

Unlike the NBA and NFL, which had successors to David Stern and Pete Rozelle (Adam Silver and Roger Goodell, respectively) groomed for years, there is no obvious frontrunner to succeed Selig. It could be someone within baseball’s upper echelon, whether it’s Selig’s current right-hand man Rob Manfred or a respected former team executive like John Schierholtz. The selection of a new commissioner will require a 3/4ths vote – just like a franchise move – and any number of candidates could potentially have enough votes against them to prevent approval. As we know from Selig’s previous endeavors, he likes to show unanimity among the owners, but it’s hard to see how that will happen because of their divergent markets and circumstances. Selig could form consensus because he showed neutrality to them, often to the point of indecision in some extreme cases. It’s not clear that any other nominee will do the same, and no owner wants the job.

Selig has indicated that the executive level will undergo a reorganization, which makes sense. During Selig’s tenure more power has been consolidated within his office than at any other time in baseball’s history. In 1999 the league presidents were eliminated, and a few years ago COO Bob DuPuy was unceremoniously let go. If the owners don’t trust Selig’s power with anyone other than Selig, then it may be best to to redistribute those powers among multiple individuals. Plus, if The Lodge wants to go with someone who can be a figurehead for the owners and technocrats inside baseball, then the safest path may be to restructure the job so that not so much power is vested within the Office of the Commissioner.

It would seem that Selig will leave the A’s-Giants mess to his successor, except for some choice quotes from a CBS Radio interview with John Feinstein, in which he called the Coliseum a “pit”:

“It’s a pit,” Selig said. “It reminds me of old County Stadium and Shea Stadium. We need to deal with that. I’ve had a committee working on it for two or three years, and there’s no question we’re going to have to solve that problem.”

But hasn’t the committee been working on it for a long time? What’s the hold-up?

“We have, John, but I’ll tell you it’s far more complex,” Selig said. “Look, you have one team that wants to move and the other team doesn’t want them to move, and it’s a very complicated situation. Before I leave, I’m satisfied we’ll work out something.”

We’ve heard assurances from Selig before, so this one carries little weight. Then again, who knows? Selig’s hallmark is his deliberate nature. If the point is to wait to provide a solution that’s satisfactory to Giants and A’s ownership, then on his way out the door makes sense. That said, there’s an awful lot of inertia in this story. I’d be surprised if Selig had this all settled before the end of his term. He still hasn’t come to a good compromise between the Orioles and Nationals over the latter team’s television rights.

Let’s just say that I’m not holding my breath.

41 thoughts on “Selig announces retirement and transition plan

  1. Not sure why it bothers me so much that he said 2-3 years- shows how detached he is from situation and feels disrespectful to us A’s fans- good riddance

  2. I don’t find the 2-3 years quote so bad. I am reminded of two lines from a song in The Muppet Movie. The first line is sung by some babies, “Days go passing into years,” and the second line is sung by some elderly folks “Years go passing day by day.”

  3. guess my analogy is one of the prisoner–you’ve only been in here 2-3 years-what’s the rush–actually sir its been 5 since you said you would do something and get me out—I realize he’s old and its “complicated” but how does he not know he’s been “studying” the situation for nearly 5 years and

  4. Hopefully he’ll find a reason to leave sooner… good riddance.

  5. So in 2-3 years, the whole A’s ordeal will be resolved, judging by what BS has stated. Then again, when has he gone through what he stated, right?! :X

  6. what is The Lodge that I keep hearing about here? Is it the owners?

  7. I pray his successor won’t be alderson

  8. @bob234 A.K.A. Good old boysnetwork, thats what I always thought they ment by it around here.

  9. @ xoot – and why not alderson? Because he would have some bias on the A’s affairs?

  10. Meanwhile another tragic fatality involving a giants game? (and many giants fans are always trashing Oakland – evidently it’s much safer attending a game at the Coliseum than phonebooth park) Selig, the giants organization, and some giants fans – bad news.

    Years ago, the SF police chief was questioned about the safety of attending night games at Candlestick – the SF police chief replied “go to A’s games instead” – now that statement evidently applies to phonebooth park also.

  11. @Anon I know you were asking xoot, but I cant think of a bad reson, for not having Alderson, there may be one I just cant think if it. I would like him, because he does have an inside view of the A’s situation.

  12. re: evidently it’s much safer attending a game at the Coliseum than phonebooth park)

    ..and don’t forget the annual Raiders-49ers pre-season game was taken off the schedule not because of violence at the Coliseum, but violence at Candlestick.

  13. Right pjk – perhaps MLB should do the same with the A’s/gnats annual series.

  14. @duffer- Yeah I was taking to a guy at work, located in another state. The guy asked me about the 49ers Raiders preseason game (him knowing I was a Raider fan), that all the fighting broke out at. He says to me “hay if the people in Oakland act like that in the preseason, I am not going there for a regular season game” I say you will be fine at a Raider game as long as you dont go in your teams jersey, oh and dont root to hard eather, but you know that took place in San Francisco not Oakland. He says “what I thought everything happend in Oakland” I say it does, but it happends in SF as well.

  15. Traveling here but hopefully the gints showed some class and took a moment of silence before the game for the poor kid killed last night-

  16. @Lakeshore/Neil – unfortunately the A’s/gnats series will likely continue because it is profitable for the A’s. Too bad MLB couldn’t follow the NFL’s lead and cancel future A’s/giants games though.

  17. When asked about the committee, the first thing that Selig talks about is that One team wants to move and another team does not want them to move. So I guess that is still the big concern in his mind. I would think that finding a site, securing land, EIR’s and building a stadium would constitute a “complex situation” How complicated would it be to tell the Giants that the league was going to act in the best interest of baseball?

  18. i vote for alderson too in previous posts but since he’s the gm of the nym i doubt that he’d get the call. what he did with the umps situation back over a decade ago is still one of the best moves mlb did in resolving that situation with a bunch of arrogant idiots who thought they were more important to the game then they reall were.

    i’ve read who believe torre might be bud-lite’s choice to replace him. wasn’t he a midgets fans when they were still in nyc?

    still don’t think we’ll get an answer about the a’s sitution until after butthead retires because obviously he doesn’t have the balls to make a tough decision, or really the right decision.

  19. I would not want to see another member of the Lodge replacing Selig as Commissioner. Like Selig, his main priority would be to serve the financial interests of the Lodge. The only exception would be Jerry Reinsdorf. I would tend to think that Reinsdorf would be strong enough to go against the wishes of any members of Lodge, if it were in the best interests of baseball to do so.

  20. llpec, regardless of who’s chosen, their main priority will ALWAYS be to serve the financial interests of the Lodge. They’re the one’s hiring him after all.

  21. the commissioner has gone from a role meant to protect baseball from the owners to a role more akin to CEO of MLB. I hope for a more progressive CEO.

  22. What the courts should do is break up the MLB monopoly and have two separate, competing leagues who only come together during the World Series. The commissioner? Eliminate the position altogether.

  23. @dmoas, So very true! I just hope that the Lodge makes a mistake by selecting a new Commissioner with an unexpected independent streak, especially when it comes to the best interests of baseball.

  24. Selig is not a progressive leader. He won’t tell any team anything uncomfortable without some acquiescence built in.

  25. Things I want to see during the next Commissioner’s term:
    1. A’s ballpark resolution.

    2. A second Hall of Fame location for West Coast baseball. The Bay Area or LA would be a great place to put it.

    3. More drastic luxury tax and salary floor.

    4. 19 straight A’s World Series victories to surpass the Yankees.

  26. I hope the door hits his azz on the way out

  27. Everyone remember to get your ALCS tickets?

  28. Selig is 79, Reinsdorf is 77…doesn’t seem like a likely successor?

  29. To be fare Bud has done well at governing over an unprecedented economic growth in MLB, and what will be looked back on as the golden age of new ballparks, starting with Camden yards.
    The problem, of course the team I love, the Oakland Athletics being all but excluded (franchise vale has gone up), from any of that growth, or a new ballpark, and while Bud is by no means the only culprit here, he’s acts, and inactions have be partially damaging

  30. @Lakeshore: Good points. Everyone, except for the fans, has played a role in the gradual decline of this franchise. I love the Oakland A’s but despise MLB. It’s a paradox I’m continually mediating.

  31. @Briggs
    I agree with you 100%, it’s the a real love hate relationship, and yes the fans or lack thereof have played a part, in this four city (San Francisco, Oakland San Jose , Fremont), two team (A’s, Giants), one league (MLB, 30 owners), high wire soap-opera.

  32. Thank god Selig is leaving, this old fart needs to be put out to pasture big time.

    He may have done some good things such as expanded playoffs, division realignment, revenue sharing etc…

    But he has failed miserably in creating a competitive balance amongst big market and small market teams the way the NFL and NHL have. The NBA is almost as bad as MLB but that is another story.

    Selig has created a system that favors big market teams. Without a hard salary cap the game is 100% unfair to the likes of the A’s, Rays, Royals, Padres etc…who all have to compete with big market teams like the Giants, Dodgers, Yankees, Angels, Red Sox etc..

    In order to win big in MLB you have to spend big. Selig refused to push a salary cap as the other leagues did, not even a soft one.

    Since Selig took over in 1993 only one small market team has won a World Series…The 2003 Florida Marlins. the 1997 Marlins spent big to win big.

    Only 4 other small market teams have even reached the World Series (1997 Indians, 1995 Indians, 1998 Padres, and the 2008 Rays). They all lost miserably to big market teams in every case.

    This new commissioner needs to restore competitive balance by putting in a hard salary cap or even a soft one with huge luxury tax penalties.

    Instead Selig chose to be a coward and focus on making money for his “mafia” as Mark Cuban put it.

    Baseball has always been the last to the party…..All because of Selig.

    Good riddens to one of the worst if not worst commissioner of all time in pro sports.

  33. @Sid
    Good points, I am hoping that MLBs finical structure continues to change, moving toward a more balanced approach like NFL, NBA, and I believe NHL, you mentioned the NBA being a little like MLB in that regard, but I think that’s more about other entertainment (movies TV. / music Hip-Hop), influences then the league being unbalanced economically when you look at teams like the San Antonio , and Oklahoma City, legitimately competing for titles, and Utah (1990/2000), and other examples.
    A hard salary cape in baseball would really help the A’s especially if they continue to confine the team to two counties (Alameda/Contra Costa) out of nine, and have the nerve to define them as a large market.

  34. Here is the recommonded transition plan for Selig: Please leave A.S.A.P. Also, make sure the door doesn’t smack you on the way out – and p.s. make contracting the giants organization your final executive act.

  35. @Neil- The NBA is not as bad because there is a soft salary cap with big time luxury tax penalties that are shared with the smaller market teams. David Stern was as bad as Selig for years.

    Granted, Utah, Indiana, San Antonio, and OKC made the finals but only San Antonio has won titles in the Stern era as a small market team.

    Chicago with 6, LA with 8, Houston with 2, Miami with 3, Boston with 2, Detroit with 3 to put this in perspective. All big market teams who spent big to win big and they won multiple titles. Not one team on this list is in a metro area less than 5M people.

    But I give Stern far more credit than Selig in the sense the NBA is now heading where small market teams do have a chance. You saw Memphis, OKC, San Antonio, and Indiana all rise in the playoffs this past year.

    But Stern has several teams not turning a profit and finally got the league to agree to revenue sharing this past CBA but in reality the NBA is in a lot of bad markets….that is Stern’s fault 100%.

    Why are there teams in Memphis, Charlotte (already failed once), New Orleans, Sacramento, Minnesota, Milwaukee when there is one team in Chicago, the SF Bay Area and only 2 teams in NY and LA?

    These small market teams cannot attract free agents as who wants to play in small market Milwaukee? Ask Monta Ellis….who just bounced.

    At least Selig has all his teams in the right places and they split up the big markets properly except for the Bay Area. Hence very little relocation in MLB.

    The NBA needs to contract or move teams to bigger markets so that they can get better TV revenue and attract free agents. Chicago and the SF Bay Area can easily support 2 teams for example and be profitable.

    As you can see Stern and Selig are both very bad commissioners but I at least give Stern the slight edge for at least trying to level the playing field in some way between big and small market teams.

  36. @Sid – Selig definitely is a poor, indecisive commissioner, David Stern actually could be considered excellent though. When Stern took over the NBA – that league was in trouble, The NBA championships were being shown on tape delay, and the NBA popularity was declining. Stern has made the NBA (which some consider more of an inner city sport)more mainstream and and its ratings increased . Consider the Sac Kings (a lowered valued team of the league) – 65% of the team sold for $340 mil.? Also, Sacto deserved to keep that team anways – and ended up doing so under Stern. Also, the NBA could easily expand into four or more cities if it wanted to, so the NBA appears to be thriving with Stern as commissioner because the value of its franchises has increased so much, and there is a big demand for an NBA team.

    Also Stern likely would have taken only six months to resolve the A’s/San Jose move – not six years and counting such as Selig has done about the situation. Furthermore, considering that the former owner of the giants (McGowan)once, in an MLB owners meeting, got right in Selig’s face and screamed “that the giants were not going to allow the A’s move to San Jose” – and Selig put up with that punk move? – that incident demonstrates what a wimp Selig is.

  37. >>Here is the recommonded transition plan for Selig: Please leave A.S.A.P. Also, make sure the door doesn’t smack you on the way out – and p.s. make contracting the giants organization your final executive act.<<

    Amen to that. While you can argue BS has been good for the bottom line of MLB the corporation, of the 4 pro sport commissioners BS is full of the most BS. His words have been repeatedly hollow, a BS artist, a politician instead of am Executive. So again here's the plan for Bud: please leave asap!

  38. @TW definitely – how Selig blatently protects the giants franchise is deplorable (perhaps Selig and the giants mgt. both know that without Selig’s protection – the Giants would move to Portland, Tampa, etc. – which they attempted to do years ago.)

  39. Sid said: “Since Selig took over in 1993 only one small market team has won a World Series…The 2003 Florida Marlins. the 1997 Marlins spent big to win big.

    Only 4 other small market teams have even reached the World Series (1997 Indians, 1995 Indians, 1998 Padres, and the 2008 Rays). They all lost miserably to big market teams in every case.”

    I’d like to know the criteria for declaring St. Louis as a large market…don’t confuse that with successful franchise.

    Here’s one look at the numbers:

  40. Selig could grant the A’s territorial rights as his last act, pissing off the Giants, and then let the new guy start off.

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