For Allen “Bud” Selig, the 2014 Major League Baseball season will be his last as the commissioner. After 22 years in charge, he will walk off into the sunset before the start of the 2015 season. There will be a great deal written about what he did and did not due as the head of baseball but one thing can’t be denied and that is from a business standpoint no one could have done a better job of nailing done long term deals that at least from the MLB has been good for every franchise.
The recently completed TV deals including the most recent with ESPN combined with the Turner and Fox nets each team nearly $52 million a year through the duration of the contracts that expire in 2021. Baseball broke records in 2013 as revenues exceeded the $ 8 billion mark and the league is on pace to come close to $9 billion in earnings this season.
Friday Sports Talk Florida spoke with Commissioner Selig and he shared some of his thoughts on the 2014 season.
Selig on speeding up the game:
Well, it’s the pace of the game. Speed sometimes is not always the right answer. I’ve read some of the remarks from our owners. I have been talking to all of our people, particularly Joe Torre and Tony La Russa and Peter Woodfork and everybody, and yes, I’ve talked to a lot of the umpires, and I’m confident that we’re moving in the right direction, and it’s important that we do continue to do that. Obviously it will depend on the type of game, number of pitching changes, everything else, but yes, that is a matter that I have been talking to a lot of people about.
Selig on the players wanting to get PED’s out of the game:
Well, you know, I’m pleased. When you think ‑‑ I said before that everything really evolves in an evolutionary manner. When you think back to where this sport was 20 years ago, 15 years ago, and where we are today, toughest drug testing program in American sports, we will have an announcement coming up very shortly which is even better, and I commend our people, and I commend the players.
You know how hard I’ve fought for this, and in 2005, ‘6, ‘7, ‘8, it was kind of a lonely battle for a while, but I’m really pleased. The players’ response has been terrific, and we’ve come to a point that nobody could have dreamed about. I’m not telling you things are perfect, but boy, they’ve come a long, long way. I always quote my father who says nothing is good or bad except by comparison, and if you compare as WADA and everybody else has said, we do have the toughest testing program in this country today. And I give all parties credit for that.
Selig on Derek Jeter’s last season:
Yeah, we’re talking about it. Look, I want to say to you about Derek, and I’ll have plenty to say during the course of the year, no player in my time has represented this sport any better than Derek Jeter. He really has in many ways been the face of baseball, and I am proud of him. I’ve told him that often. He’s just been a great player on the field, but to be frank with you, a better person off the field.
There will be a lot of appropriate celebrations as time goes on, and we’re talking about a lot of things now, but a lot of that also is going to be up to Derek. I’m sorry to see him go, but in every great career it has to come to an end at some point. You couldn’t have done any better as a human being the last 20 years relative to this sport than Derek Jeter has done.