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."