Tag:Bud Selig
Posted on: September 1, 2011 5:33 pm

September Storylines: What races?

By C. Trent Rosecrans

If I were a conspiracy type of guy (and I'm most certainly not), maybe I'd suggest Bud Selig rigged this whole thing to get people on board for expanding the playoffs. I don't believe that, or even believe Selig has dreamt about that, much less thought about it -- but the lack of a pennant chases this September may make adding another playoff team to the mix more desirable.

September Storylines

As September began, only two division leaders had a competitor within five games of them for the lead, and one of those -- the American League East -- has both teams pretty much as shoe-ins for the playoffs. Both wild card leaders are up by at least 7 1/2 games over their nearest competition. In short, it may be a boring September.

So, with that buildup, let's look at the race for the eight playoff spots as we enter the last month of the season:

AL East: While the revamped Rays gave it a nice run, Tampa starts the month nine games behind the Rd Sox and virtually out of the race, so we're down to the usual suspects -- the Yankees and Red Sox. The rivals finish their series on Wednesday with Boston leading New York by 1 1/2 games. A difference could be the two teams' schedules -- Boston doesn't leave the Eastern Time zone the rest of the season, while the Yankees not only have a swing out West, they also have 26 games in the last 27 days. Boston does as well, but a doubleheader on Sept. 19 against Baltimore gives them two off days in the game's last month. Boston is 35-20 against the five teams remaining on their schedule while the Yankees are 39-31 against the seven teams they have left on their slate. While many may say it doesn't matter which team wins the division, there's something to be said for home field advantage and opening against Detroit over opening at Texas.

AL Central: The Detroit Verlanders lead the division by 5 1/2 games over the Indians and are six games ahead of the White Sox. However, both the White Sox and Indians have six games left against Detroit, so it's hardly over -- but it could be by the middle of the month. Detroit and Justin Verlander welcome the White Sox to Comerica Park on Friday. Detroit follows that series with a trip to Cleveland. A nice run here by the Tigers could go a long way to letting them work their rotation so Verlander can get ready for Game 1 of the ALDS.

AL West: This is where it could get interesting -- Texas led the division by as many as seven games in August, but enter Thursday's game just 3 1/2 games ahead of Los Angeles, which has won eight of its last 12 games and returns for Seattle for a nine-game home stand on Friday. The Angels are a .500 team on the road and 38-28 at home entering Thursday's game in Seattle. The two teams have just three games remaining against each other, but they come the last series of the season, Sept. 26-28 in Anaheim.

AL Wild Card: Red Sox or Yankees. Yankees or Red Sox.

NL East: Much like the American League East, the top two teams can smell the postseason. Philadelphia is rolling and nobody wants to face Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels in the postseason. The Phillies improved to 87-56 with a win over Cincinnati on Thursday.

NL Central: The Cardinals have looked spunky by taking the first two games of the series in Milwaukee headed into Thursday afternoon's game, but it still leads by 8 1/2 games. The Cardinals welcome the Brewers at Busch Stadium next week after a weekend series with the Reds. The Brewers are still in control, so St. Louis needs to win the rest of its series remaining (including a trip to Philadelphia for four and three games against Atlanta) to make the Brewers sweat. St. Louis does follow that trip to Philly with series against the Mets, Cubs and Astros to finish the season, so the schedule helps them once they get back from Philadelphia.

NL West: Last year the Giants entered September four games back in the National League, this year it's six. But there's a lot different feeling than there was a year ago when people were wondering if the Padres could hold on to first (they couldn't), while this year the division-leading Diamondbacks enter the season's final month riding a nine-game winning streak. The two start a three-game series in San Francisco on Friday in what could turn out to be the knockout punch. However, the Giants miss Daniel Hudson, while they also put on the mound their three top starters in Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum and Ryan Vogelsong. The two teams also have another series in the season's last weekend at Chase Field. Arizona plays all its remaining games in either the Pacific or Mountain time zones. The Diamondbacks are 30-23 against the teams remaining on their schedule, with a 4-8 record so far against the Giants. All of San Francisco's remaining games are against NL West teams, which helps because those teams are the Padres, Dodgers and Rockies.

NL Wild Card: The Braves will play, but a more interesting question is who they will play. This isn't exactly about the wild card, but more about which team dodges the Phillies in the first round of the playoffs.

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Posted on: August 15, 2011 3:55 pm

Approval of Crane as new Astros owner delayed

CraneBy Evan Brunell

Jim Crane's ownership of the Astros has been delayed, as MLB owners will not vote on Crane's takeover this week as planned, the Houston Chronicle reports.

Commissioner Bud Selig still isn't comfortable with recommending Crane to the rest of the owners for approval despite three months of research.

“The standard due diligence that must be completed before any transaction of this magnitude can close remains ongoing,” MLB said in a statement. “Because that procedure is continuing, it is not expected that the proposed sale of the Astros will go to the approval process at this week’s owners meetings. Major League Baseball will continue to work as expeditiously as possible to complete the process.”

A source said he believed that Crane would eventually be approved, but "just [doesn't] know" if he will in actuality be approved, which has to be sobering news for current owner Drayton McLane, who has been trying to sell the 'Stros for some time now. The source did caution that the delay has nothing to do with a possible rejection of Crane; simply that the process has been delayed.

McLane was caught by surprise at the news, it has been said, as he was so certain Crane would be approved that McLane sought the hopeful owner's opinion on recent moves the Astros made, such as dealing outfielders Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn as well as firing pitching coach Brad Arnsberg.

The holdup doesn't appear to be due to financing the sale, but rather Crane's history of discriminatory practices with one of his companies in 1997, with thousands of complaints against Eagle USA Airfreight dealing with minority and female hiring practices. A judge found 203 of 2,073 claims to have merit, and Eagle was also sued 11 times in federal employment discrimination cases. Crane dismissed the issue back in May, but clearly MLB is taking it seriously. Commissioner Bud Selig is especially sensitive to the issues of minority and female hiring. Crane is also linked to war profiteering, with Eagle Global Logistics alleged to have inflated the cost of military shipments to Iraq. Eagle Global Logistics paid $4 million to settle the issue.

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Posted on: August 7, 2011 10:15 pm
Edited on: August 7, 2011 10:22 pm

Report: Empty seats to cost Dodgers $27 million

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Not that you expected much anyway, but it could be a quiet offseason for the Los Angeles Dodgers, as the Los Angeles Times reports the team could lose at least $27 million this season from reduced ticket sales, concession and parking revenue for the 2011 season.

Not only have the Dodgers underachieved on the field, where they fell to 52-61 on Sunday with a loss to the Diamondbacks, the soap opera off the field with Frank McCourt's divorce, bankruptcy, questions about meeting payroll and feud with Bud Selig has put a black cloud over Chavez Ravine.

Average attendance at Dodgers games is down 17.7 percent to 36,731, but that's the official number which is tickets sold -- the actual fans in seats is much lower. While that doesn't hurt on the ticket sales, it is where concessions and parking revenues take a major hit.

The Dodgers refused comment on the Times' story.

According to documents from 2009, in that season ticket sales were the largest contributor to the Dodgers' revenue.

In a perfect world with a decent owner, the Dodgers would be a big spender on the free agent market and a desirable location for free agents to play -- and $27 million could pay for either shortstop Jose Reyes or first baseman Prince Fielder, or help pay both. That's not going to happen for many reasons, but the fact fans aren't showing up isn't going to help.

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Posted on: July 31, 2011 8:54 pm
Edited on: July 31, 2011 10:18 pm

A's owner speaks out against McCourt

WolffBy Evan Brunell

The A's owner, Lew Wolff, is the first baseball owner to come out against Frank McCourt in his never-ending battle to keep control of the Dodgers.

"My hope is that the Dodgers will be sold to a party that will restart this great franchise, and that Frank and his family will benefit from a positive sale," Wolff said, according to the Los Angeles Times. "But to try and equate or compare what Bud Selig has done with the administration of the current Dodger franchise is unsupportable."

Wolff is especially displeased with McCourt's attempted smearing of Selig publicly and in court. McCourt and his lawyers challenged Selig's authority in court and made the ludicrous argument that even if McCourt took out money from the Dodgers for personal use, it was far greater than the amount Selig has taken out of MLB. The commissioner pulls in an average annual salary of $18.35 million, set by major-league owners.

"Even taking the commissioner's false claim that $100 million was taken out of the Dodgers at face value," McCourt's attorneys wrote ina  filing disputing how much money McCourt has taken out of the Los Angeles club. "It is difficult to understand how the commissioner can complain about this when he pays himself a salary of approximately $20 million a year — meaning that he has taken out between $120 million and $140 million from baseball revenues during the same period that he complains about $100 million being taken out by the owner of a team."

That didn't sit too well with Wolff.

"For anyone to seek to diminish Bud's accomplishments in order to rationalize their own actions is, in my opinion, ludicrous and hugely disingenuous," the A's owner said. Wolff has been a part of the A's since 2005 and is trying to get Oakland a new ballpark but has met resistance and has been waiting over two years for Selig to issue a ruling on the decision. If anyone might have cause to be frustrated with Selig and perhaps side with McCourt, it would be Wolff. But:

"I can't think of one owner that is not supportive of the actions taken by MLB," Wolff said.

He added that he is not speaking out in an attempt to get on Selig's good side for the ballpark ruling and proposed move to San Jose. While it's unsurprising to know that all the other owners are arrayed against McCourt, it's surprising to see Wolff speak out, as Selig is attempting to keep the distraction McCourt has wrought to a minimum.

Currently, McCourt is attempting to keep the Dodgers despite no available funds after he and his ex-wife used the Dodgers as a personal piggy bank. After an embarrassing and expensive divorce, McCourt has been limping along until he was forced to file for bankruptcy in order to hang onto the Dodgers.

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Posted on: July 28, 2011 8:02 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2011 8:25 pm

More McCourt madness in L.A.

By Matt Snyder

Just in case you're bored with the trade deadline and actual, on-field baseball, we have a slightly humorous -- and slightly sad -- update on the ongoing fight between Frank McCourt and Major League Baseball, Bud Selig and Jamie McCourt.

First things first, McCourt alleged that MLB commissioner Bud Selig has taken more money out of baseball than McCourt has. In response to an allegation that McCourt has cost the Dodgers over $180 million in revenues, McCourt's attorney's pointed to Selig's $18 million-plus salary -- which is subject to approval by all 30 MLB clubs.

"The claim that $100 million was taken out of the Dodgers over the course of seven years is patently false," according to the court filing (LA Times). "Moreover, even taking the Commissioner's false claim that $100 million was taken out of the Dodgers at face value, it is difficult to understand how the Commissioner can complain about this when he pays himself a salary of approximately $20 million a year -- meaning that he has taken out between $120 million and $140 million from baseball revenues during the same period that he complains about $100 million being taken out by the owner of a team."

The response from Major League Baseball was priceless:

"The claim that Mr. McCourt took $100 million is patently false. He took a lot more than that." (LA Times)

Also of note here, according to Maury Brown at The Biz of Baseball, Selig has increased MLB revenues by more than $5 billion since the mid-90s.

Meanwhile, Jamie McCourt -- with whom Frank is going through divorce proceedings -- has offered up a filing of her own. Her claim is that Frank is failing to honor his court-ordered obligations of spousal support, instead using all his money to wage "jihad" against Major League Baseball (LA Times).

So, to sum up: McCourt thinks Selig is stealing his own salary, though McCourt is allegedly using the money he's supposed to be giving to Jamie to wage a "jihad" against Selig.

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Posted on: July 28, 2011 10:46 am

Could MLB return to Montreal?

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The former French-language broadcaster for the Montreal Expos said he's been approached by a business group trying to bring baseball back to Montreal. That news comes off the heels of a report by the Conference Board of Canada that said Montreal could still support Major League Baseball.

The Expos moved to Washington D.C. after the 2004 season, but it certainly wouldn't be the first time a market lost a team and then got another. The Expos' move to D.C. was the third incarnation of MLB in the nation's capital. Kansas City, Seattle and Milwaukee all got second chances at MLB, and then there's the Mets who debuted after the Dodgers and Giants went west.

One huge hurdle would likely be a new ballpark, something the Expos couldn't get.

Still, Rodger Brulotte said there are business groups that have approached him and he's starting to take them seriously, even if he wouldn't name specific names.

"Before doing anything, I told the group to get their business plan together," Brulotte told the Montreal Gazette. "It has to include plans for a stadium, for radio and television rights, for everything, as though they already have the franchise."

It's unlikely baseball would expand anytime soon -- earlier this month in Phoenix commissioner Bud Selig said it's not in the plans -- but the Oakland A's are the team that would be most likely to move. The chances of that, though, are slim. Even with a stronger Canadian dollar, a return to Montreal seems even more unlikely -- much to the chagrin of traveling beat writers across the United States who fondly remember trips to Montreal, if not Olympic Stadium.

Author Jonah Keri, a Montreal native who is working on a book about the Expos, called the report a "non-story" and said there is a "zero percent" chance of baseball ever returning to Montreal. Unfortunately, he's probably correct. 

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Posted on: July 22, 2011 3:15 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2011 3:24 pm

Judge rejects McCourt's financing proposal

By Matt Snyder

Major League Baseball scored a victory while embattled Dodgers owner Frank McCourt was dealt a significant blow Friday in court. The judge presiding over the Dodgers' bankruptcy hearing rejected McCourt's claim that he can legally seek out his own financing in a cable TV deal. McCourt instead will be forced to negotiate a financing deal with Major League Baseball, as league rules stipulate (LA Times).

McCourt Saga
McCourt had secured a loan for $385 million with Fox, but the deal wasn't approved by MLB due to the fact that McCourt would be borrowing against future earning to pay present bills. The financing deal McCourt set up with Fox would have cost the Dodgers millions of dollars in fees and interest. The league reportedly believes it can find a better financing deal for McCourt, though it's been previously reported that MLB wouldn't grant any more loans to the Dodgers unless McCourt was removed from his ownership role.

McCourt is still the owner of the Dodgers, though this ruling certainly sets the table for Major League Baseball to take further action. Hearings will continue, but McCourt is currently losing the battle.

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Posted on: July 12, 2011 5:22 pm
Edited on: July 12, 2011 5:35 pm

Selig: 'Modest' additions to replay coming soon

By C. Trent Rosecrans

PHOENIX -- Baseball will expand replay -- but this is just a loosening of the belt instead of an opening of the floodgates.

Speaking to the Baseball Writers Association of America on Tuesday, MLB commissioner Bud Selig said replay would expand next season, but those changes would be "modest."

"There will be some more replay, but very modest," Selig said -- and said the announcement would be coming soon. "I believe in the pace of the game."

Selig's only expansion on the topic was it would include "bullets down the line." Basically expanding the line calls from just home runs to close plays in play. It's a start, if anything.

The positive is that Selig is open to change and expanding the replay. If the replays with these work quickly, it could expand. However, if done poorly, it could hinder expansion of replay.

The current setup has umpires get together and then go inside the dugout to review a call. A better system would be to incorporate college football's system that has an official off the field that watches the play and relays the information -- or even the NHL system that has a central location in its headquarters that has officials watching all the games on TVs and reviewing goals. Either solution would cut down on the time needed to make the call and preserve the "pace of the game."

As for the umpiring as a whole, Selig said MLB officials review umpires "every day."

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For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed. For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Category: MLB
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