Tag:Commissioner Bud Selig
Posted on: January 12, 2012 8:30 pm
 

Owners play Lucy to Moorad's Charlie Brown

Easy to see why John Moores' anger flashed quickly at the owners' meetings on Thursday. He wants his money and he wants out of baseball.

But the riveting question now after fellow owners pushed the pause button on the impending transfer of the Padres from Moores to Jeff Moorad is, will it happen?

Or will Moorad be left standing in the on deck circle?

Commissioner Bud Selig cited "economic concerns" as the reason for the delay. Meanwhile, ownership sources with multiple clubs hesitated to predict where this thing will go next.

"Usually, when you get to this point, it's teed up," one person said. "The fact that it did not get voted on shows significant financial questions."

Translation: When a person is allowed to begin running a club, as Moorad was the Padres beginning in the spring of 2009, approval by other owners usually is just a formality.

The fact that there were enough "red flags" to leave the owners' executive committee asking for more answers, however, at best slows the process and keeps the Padres' finances flat and, at worst, could torpedo the entire sale. That would leave Moores, who had intended to divest the 51 percent he still owns in the club once the money owed by Moorad was deposited in December, back at the starting point.

Few want that, and though Moorad has made several enemies among owners from his days as an agent, those with knowledge of this snag say reasons are purely financial, not personal.

Selig promised Moores and Moorad that the process will move "expeditiously." The next quarterly owners' meeting is in May, though one person suggested Thursday that Selig could convene a vote via conference call in 60 or 90 days if the financial questions are answered.

Moores, who will receive about $530 million total for the Padres, a club he purchased in 1995, was angry enough at the delay that he refused to vote in favor of the two-year extension Selig received, which went 29-1 in the commissioner's favor.
Posted on: November 2, 2011 1:34 am
Edited on: November 2, 2011 11:19 am
 

McCourt, MLB agree to auction Dodgers

It's not quite the "Ding, Dong the Witch is Dead" moment yet.

But Frank McCourt has never been closer to becoming the ex-Dodgers owner than he is right now.

But McCourt and Major League Baseball jointly announced overnight Tuesday -- at 1:03 a.m. EDT, to be exact -- that they have "agreed to a court supervised process to sell the team and its attendant media rights in a manner designated to realize maximum value for the Dodgers and their owner Frank McCourt."

Translation: McCourt, cornered from all sides and quickly running out of money, has lost his appetite to fight following two years of lawyers, litigation, obstinance and sheer delusion.

In what amounts to a final surrender, McCourt essentially has agreed to auction off the team and disappear. In return, MLB gets what it wants: The Dodgers wrested from McCourt's cold clutch without a messy court fight in which secret financial details could be publicly revealed. The league will help facilitate the sale through the Blackstone Group LP.

The sale is expected to include the team, Dodger Stadium and the surrounding parking lots. McCourt purchased the club and the properties for $421 million in 2004.

Best-case scenario for MLB, Los Angeles and Dodgers fans: A new owner is in place by opening day.

The Dodgers have been in free-fall since Frank and Jamie McCourt's marriage began crumbling in 2009, and the all-out war that developed between the two turned into one the ugliest and messiest battles in baseball history. Their excessively materialistic lifestyle first provided fodder for Los Angeles gossip columns, and then grist for MLB to seize the team from McCourt after it accused him of "looting" millions of dollars from the Dodgers to finance his over-leveraged personal life.

The aptly named McCourt battled in both divorce court and bankruptcy court trying to keep the Dodgers while remaining financially solvent. It's been clear to everyone but him for more than a year that he was fighting a losing battle.

His last-ditch bid to reverse his fall came when he attempted to arrange a future television contract that would front him millions even while the Dodgers were still operating under a present television contract with Fox. Selig would not allow it, and that was the basis for McCourt's latest battle with MLB.

Frankly, that McCourt stubbornly hung on for this long is an upset, given that there were rampant rumors last summer that he would not be able to meet payroll, which would have given MLB carte blanche to remove him as owner.

Or, as I wrote on June 22: "Welcome to the final days of the Dodgers' banana republic. You can hear the choppers whirring just over the hills. Soon, they'll have the place fully surrounded. It won't be long until Frank McCourt will be forced down from his coconut tree, frisked and exiled."

That time has come. According to financial figures McCourt himself submitted to the Bankruptcy Court, even if he settled his divorce and sold the club's television rights, he would still be far short of what he needs to restore the luster to the Dodgers and to renovate Dodger Stadium. As it is, McCourt has agreed to pay his ex-wife, Jamie, a divorce settlement of $130 million.

On the field, the Dodgers in 2011 drew fewer than three million fans in a non-strike-shortened season for the first time in 19 years and for only the second time since 1989.

Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks, has expressed interest in the club. Closer to home, Dennis Gilbert, the one-time agent who headed a group that nearly landed the Texas Rangers in 2010, would be a perfect choice. Milwaukee Brewers owner Mark Attanasio has been rumored as potentially being interested, and one industry source theorizes that Oakland owner Lew Wolff, frustrated with the Athletics' inability to gain a new stadium, is another possibility.
Posted on: October 22, 2011 7:39 pm
 

Selig expected to arbitrate Cubs-Red Sox dispute


When the Cubs and Red Sox announced the Theo Epstein deal Friday night, they said that they had "reached an agreement regarding a process by which appropriate compensation will be determined for the Red Sox and that issue will be resolved in the near term."

That process, sources with knowledge of the talks said Saturday, will involved Commissioner Bud Selig serving as the arbiter if the clubs cannot agree on compensation. Most likely, that would happen fairly quickly after the World Series.

The two clubs are bickering strictly over players coming back to the Red Sox, one source said. As of now, there are no financial considerations.

Epstein will be introduced at a Wrigley Field news conference on Tuesday, the travel day between World Series Games 5 and 6. As CBSSports.com reported Thursday, Padres general manager Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod, one of Hoyer's top assistants in San Diego, will join him in Chicago and the Cubs will send a low-level minor league player (or players) to the Padres as compensation.

Those moves, though, will not happen until later next week. At that point Josh Byrnes, the former Arizona general manager, will be named as the Padres' GM, succeeding Hoyer. Byrnes currently is a senior vice-president for baseball operations in San Diego.
Posted on: June 28, 2011 8:42 pm
Edited on: June 29, 2011 2:56 pm
 

Why Tuesday was better for MLB than McCourt

The takeaway from baseball's date with the Dodgers in bankruptcy court Tuesday?

Major League Baseball is very happy with the way the day went, according to sources, for at least two very specific reasons:

-- Lawyers agreed to "delete" language ordering the auctioning of "media rights" (television contract) by a specific date that Frank McCourt is attempting to wangle as part of his financing agreement. In layman's terms, this for now prevents the bankruptcy judge from auctioning off a Dodgers television deal, which essentially would have allowed McCourt to go back door around Major League Baseball.

For now, the Commissioner's Office retains power to accept or to deny whatever media deals McCourt strikes. That is hugely important to MLB because it fears two things:

One, that McCourt is so desperate that he will wind up striking a television deal for below market value (the Dodgers' current television deal still has two more years remaining, that's how far out in front he's negotiating).

And two, that he will use the money from a new television deal to pay off some of his enormous debt (including ex-wife Jamie in their divorce), thus crippling the Dodgers further (and possibly an incoming new owner) because money that should be used for the team won't be there.

-- The deal struck Tuesday allows the Dodgers to draw an initial $60 million of a $150 million agreement with Highbridge Capital to maintain operations essentially for another month, until a July 20 hearing. This allows McCourt to meet this Thursday's payroll, among other things -- and, for baseball, means the other 29 owners will not have to pony up millions of dollars to cover the Dodgers' payroll for at least another month.

Without question, Tuesday's court proceedings were just one more round in what's become a blood bath between McCourt and MLB. Many rounds are left, and what nobody knows is how many more moves McCourt has left before he runs out of money and is squeezed out of the game.

To hear him tell it in meetings at Dodger Stadium, according to sources, he continues to think that he will find a way to retain the team.

Upon filing for bankruptcy early Monday morning in Delaware, one of McCourt's next moves was to bar MLB appointed "monitors" Tom Schieffer and John Allen from their Dodger Stadium offices.

Next? MLB is expected to take steps toward seizing the Dodgers, a right available to baseball as part of the game's constitution. According to the constitution, the commissioner can take the liberty of seizing any club that enters Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Procedurally, MLB must first file a motion seeking termination of the franchise, which a source told the Associated Press is "probably going to happen."

Exactly when is not yet clear.

What is clear is, Tuesday's day in bankruptcy court extended, however briefly, the financially suffocating McCourt's grip on the franchise. But his status as an owner remains on life support.

Posted on: March 5, 2011 4:47 pm
 

Selig "satisfied" with early labor talks

MESA, Ariz. -- Dressed casually in khaki slacks and a button down shirt on a 73-degree day, Commissioner Bud Selig could have passed for any fan at Saturday's Cubs-Padres game at HoHoKam Park.

Of course, not just any fan has the authority to speak directly, and with the inside knowledge, of the game's first labor negotiating session that was held Wednesday in Florida. The game's Basic Agreement expires following the upcoming season.

"We're starting early, and I think that's good," said Selig, who added that a second negotiating session is scheduled for "out here" -- presumably in Arizona -- next week. "Hopefully we're starting very quietly and very peacefully.

"I'm proud that we've had 16 years of labor peace. It's because we can do our work quietly. ... There used to be a lot of public statements and people banging on each other. Negotiations will be tough and we'll have a difference of opinion, but we'll do it in a constructive manner. It's led to two successful labor negotiations and, hopefully, another one.

"Michael [Weiner, players' union chief] has been good. ... I'm satisfied with where we are."

As baseball begins the process that once upon a time led to the public spitting that the NFL currently is experiencing, Selig said the football saga certainly feels familiar.

"It brings back a lot of memories of the '90s," he said. "Those were tough years, really tough years, for a lot of reasons. If I ever get around to writing my book what I would say is, the seven labor stoppages that led to that, you could almost see it coming. There was so much anger and so much hostility.

"But those days are gone. And the other sports now, in some cases, I guess, are feeling what we felt in the '90s. It's painful, I'll tell you that."

Aside from the fact that there will be another negotiating session next week, Selig touched on several different topics without any sensational revelations. Among them:

-- On some recent comments by big-market owners complaining about shelling out too much money for revenue sharing: "So far I've been able to keep this all together in a very constructive way and I don't have any reason to think that's going to change. Every club views it from its own perspective. I understand that."

Selig declined comment on Red Sox owner John Henry's revelation last week that he had been fined $500,000 for comments regarding revenue sharing a few years ago.

-- On recent rumblings regarding the idea of contraction: "It's not something I've talked about. It's not something we've talked about. It hasn't been on the table."

-- On the Mets' mess: "We're in uncharted waters. I speak to Fred [Wilpon, Mets owner] a great deal and we just have to hope something works out."

-- Mets and Dodgers marquee franchises scuffling: "When you're the commissioner, you have all kinds of things that happen, most of them not in your control, and this year we have a couple of situations and next year we'll have a couple of more. You work your way through these things."

-- In the most entertaining exchange, Selig reiterated that he has an "enormous respect and affection" for the Wilpons, who go back 35 years with his family. Asked whether he could make any similar comments about Dodgers ownership, Frank and Jamie McCourt, Selig said, "I'm not going to discuss the LA situation."

-- On Cubs outfielder Marlon Byrd being the only player in baseball taking supplements and using a program designed by Victor Conte, the old BALCO man: "We've talked to him. He knows how we feel. It's not a situation that makes me very happy."

Posted on: July 15, 2010 2:34 pm
Edited on: July 15, 2010 3:07 pm
 

Hey Gregg: Go back to the football fields

So my good buddy Gregg Doyel wants steroids back in baseball?

He wants artificially inflated behemoths flexing their muscles? He wants brawny Jolly Green Giants feeding us red meat and cheap thrills?

Hey, Gregg, we've already got that.

It's called the NFL.

I know, I know. They've got a steroids policy over there, too, and they had it long before baseball and yada, yada, yada.

What are we supposed to be, stupid? It's normal for guys to grow to 6-7 and run the 40 in two seconds flat?

You want juice, go watch Cowboys-Raiders. Or tour a Tropicana plant.

Leave baseball alone.

Go ahead, take your shots at the "purists". Compare the low-scoring games this summer to a Spain-
Netherlands World Cup match. Me? I think the sound of too many vuvuzelas have damaged your thinking.

Steroids and greenies? Really?

I mean, I know you've always lived just one area code away from the cuckoo's nest, Gregg, but I thought you were more responsible than this. What are you doing tomorrow, teaching the neighborhood kids how to make moonshine?

What I get tired of is, there is little appreciation for subtlety anymore. Anywhere. You can't go to a movie without things blowing up onscreen every two minutes. Everybody's yelling at everybody on radio and cable TV, from the ESPN shout-fests to CNN's Nancy Grace.

Must we be smashed over the head with a sledgehammer each way we turn in life anymore?

Must everything devolve into Short Attention Span Theater?

If you want to zing Tuesday night's All-Star Game, here's where you go: Joe Girardi's managing. To be given a 34-man roster and still be exposed by failing to have a pinch runner at the ready for David Ortiz in the ninth inning was flat-out embarrassing. If Girardi's Yankees play in the World Series this October, all he has to do to learn why they don't have home-field advantage is look straight into the mirror.

Baseball made several tweaks to this year's game and still couldn't get it right: What's needed is smaller rosters, not larger ones, and stars like Albert Pujols, Ichiro Suzuki and Joe Mauer actually still being in the game when it's on the line in the late innings.

Even commissioner Bud Selig was rhapsodizing earlier Tuesday about the days when Hank Aaron and Roberto Clemente played the entire All-Star Game. Well, duh. That's how you juice this thing back to the level it once was.

Still, Tuesday night's game had some terrific moments. The best of which was Scott Rolen's intuitive read of a single to center and busting it all the way to third to spark the NL's winning rally. It was the kind of key play that too often was rendered meaningless during the Steroid Era as everyone sat around and waited for three-run homers.

No, other than Girardi's death-wish managing, the only folks who couldn't enjoy this, I'm sure, are the ones who complained that there still weren't enough things blowing up in Iron Man 2. Which, no, I didn't see. The first one was lousy enough.

Anyway, Gregg, I could go on from here, but my guess is I've lost you already, my friend. You're probably already salivating over Cowboys-Raiders.

It's OK, though. I still look forward to covering the World Series with you in October. And being the generous guy I am, I'll make you a deal: If a pitching duel breaks out, the Red Bull and No-Doz is on me. OK?

Oh, one other thing: I don't completely disagree with everything you wrote in this whack-job of a piece. The Tiger Woods line? Excellent.

Posted on: June 3, 2010 2:59 pm
Edited on: June 3, 2010 3:33 pm
 

Selig does not overturn Joyce's call

Baseball is not inclined to reverse umpire Jim Joyce's call and retroactively award Detroit pitcher Armando Galarraga a perfect game. At least, not today. And not in the future, according to a baseball official who is not authorized to speak on the record.

What baseball is inclined to do, according to Commissioner Bud Selig, is this:

"Given last night's call and other recent events, I will examine our umpiring system, the expanded use of instant replay and all other related features. Before I announce any decisions, I will consult with all appropriate parties, including our two unions and the Special Committee for On-Field Matters, which consists of field managers, general managers, club owners and presidents.”

So to (instantly) review:

Consult and deliberate, yes.

To order history changed, no.

Selig, in a statement, also congratulated Galarraga on "a remarkable pitching performance", adding that "all of us who love the game appreciate the historic nature of his effort last night."

He also acknowledged the "dignity and class of the entire Detroit Tigers organization", noting that the Tigers "were truly admirable and embodied good sportsmanship of the highest order."

And finally, he said: "As Jim Joyce said in his postgame comments, there is no dispute that last night's game should have ended differently.  While the human element has always been an integral part of baseball, it is vital that mistakes on the field be addressed."

 

Posted on: April 5, 2010 2:18 pm
 

Commissioner Bud Selig is on TV. ...

... on the Nationals' broadcast, and he's talking about getting to the point where all 30 teams have hope and faith on opening day.

I think it's probably good they're not getting this telecast in Pittsburgh or Kansas City.
Category: MLB
 
 
 
 
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