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July 23, 1997

Paul Beeston

Allan H. "Bud" Selig

RICH LEVIN: Thank you very much, everybody, for joining us on a call. We have Bud Selig who is the Chairman of the Major League Executive Council and Paul Beeston our new President, Chief Operating Officer of Major League Baseball.
Bud and Paul will say a few words and then we will open it up for questions and answers. Bud, do you want to begin?
BUD SELIG: Thank you, Rich, and good afternoon, everybody. I just said to Paul yesterday when he made his farewell address in Toronto - I am sure it was extraordinary as all his speeches are - that he must have given the Knute Rockne special because they went out and ripped the Brewers last night. So, he was he sort of was denying it, but I don't know.
Anyway, it is a pleasure to have all of you. This is frankly a very happy day for baseball, for me personally, for Paul. Paul and I have talked about this for a long time. As many of you know, he was the chairman of the Budget and Audit Committee for Major League Baseball, so he and I have spent a lot of time over the past -- Paul I guess 2, two and a half years now --
BUD SELIG: -- talking about the office and talking about various things. I mean, we think we have done quite well in bringing us along, but it clearly, having Paul there everyday, is just a very positive step. There is much to be done. We have a lot of initiatives underway. We are going to have a lot more. And, frankly, I am glad we have been able to bring this to fruition. So, I will be glad to answer questions. I think all of you know how I feel about Paul and Paul and I have had an extraordinarily close relationship now for a long, long time. And, so this is just a great day for baseball, and for my friend Mr. Beeston. Paul.
PAUL BEESTON: Thank you very much, Bud.
Ladies and gentlemen, I must tell you that if I gave them a pep talk yesterday, we went out and got four hits. We were able to win. But, it wasn't something that we blew them out of the water on.
But having said that, yesterday was a very emotional day for me. I have been with the Blue Jays for 22 years now. And, to move to New York was a decision that I made very, very reluctantly, but with a great deal of enthusiasm. I have tremendous respect for Bud. Our relationship goes back a long way. And, quite frankly, it is a relationship that I think that has just grown over the years. We have never been on the same side of too many issues. We were a big market. They were a small market. But, it was always the ability to communicate. And, I think that is the way we can continue our relationship into the future.
I am excited. I am thrilled. I look forward to it. I wouldn't say that I am not nervous because I think any time that you take on a new job, new responsibilities, you have to have some nervousness, and, I have a little bit of that. But, I still have the confidence to think that I can -- that I can contribute.
I believe we have the best game in the world. I have always believed that. And, that is kind of sacrilegious, as I said yesterday to the group in Toronto, for a Canadian to make that statement, but I believe in this game. And, the ability to give something back to it, if in fact I can do it, I don't mean it to be trite, I don't mean it to be pollyann-ish, I believe it to be true. I have got forced upon me because of the change of ownership in Toronto, a career decision to make, and that decision I made. And, I decided that it was best for me to work with Bud and to work with the Executive Committee, but particularly, Bud because that is who I will report to, to see what I can do to develop and nurture and help the game.
Notwithstanding with what people write, say, or what you see on television, have 30 teams that are committed to leaving the game in better shape there they found it.
There has been changes. I mean, you look at what Bud has done and he has brought it along and it wasn't easy and it wasn't quick. But, revenue sharing, and the three-division play, all those types of things. We have got to do it because it is something that the fans want. And if we can work together with Don and Gene - guys who I have a lot of respect for, and guys that I have gotten along with and Mark Belanger, when I think of the Union, I have been fortunate in having relationships with them and working with Bud and working with the union, working with the people in New York, and carrying it forward so that we can develop the game, but most importantly, grow the game, not only on a North American basis but International basis because we really, truly do have a game that can be international and the possibilities are endless as to how it goes. I think it can be a lot of fun.
So, I am looking forward to it. As I say, I have got a little bit of nervousness, but I am not shy and I will always be available. I don't think I will always be as available as Bud because Bud, I don't know anybody who ever gets back quicker than he, does but I will be available and working together with the group.
I'd like to think that we could work in New York the way that we worked in Toronto. When I spoke to our staff yesterday, I talked about the one thing, the wins and the losses. We had some highs we had some lows. We suffered, but you know, we had some good years too. But, through it all, we were altogether. And, if we can all be together in this, I think that we got a chance of really having some fun in the years ahead.
We are on our way back. There is no question that 1994, and the loss of spring training in 1995, did some damage to the game and there is no use denying that. I think that, however, that we are on our way and the stories now are guys hitting 400, guys going after 62, guys going after 25 to 30 wins and we put the team -- put the stories to the players in the field and we go from there.
So, that is what I have as my remarks. I commit to giving you my best. I commit to giving you energy. I hope it is a lot of fun. And I hope that we are able to laugh at ourselves, because any errors we make will be, hopefully, errors of aggression as opposed to omission. But, you know, when errors of aggression, you are going to make some mistakes and you got to pick up some pieces. And, more importantly, I think, you got to be able to have a laugh at yourself once in a while. If we can do all that, it is a game, it is fun, it is something that we all love. And, we have the best game. And, it is just something that needs to be -- to be developed. I am excited and let us get on with it.
BUD SELIG: By the way, Paul, should we announce a new dress code? (laughs).
PAUL BEESTON: My friend, Mr. Steinbrenner, who until today, I used to call George, suggested that he would send me some socks.
BUD SELIG: I think so. We hope that in New York you will wear socks. Socks will be nice.
Paul came to a lot of Major League meetings, ladies and gentlemen, some very stayed and sophisticated places and I was always stunned that he didn't have socks on. But, hopefully that will change. If not, I guess everybody in the office will walk around without socks. Okay, Rich.
RICH LEVIN: We will take any questions and answers now.

Q. We spoke with Ted asking about the Commissioner search. He said he has been ordered by baseball not to discuss that. I am curious why the gag order and what about the future of that position?
BUD SELIG: I don't know that it is a gag order, Scott. Having been the chairman of two Commissioner Search Committees way back when, it is impossible to deal in that area and talk about the people that you are talking to. The people most of the time are employed. They do this on a very confidential basis. And, quite frankly, I would say back in 1928 and '83 when I we were out looking for a commissioner, we actually lost a couple of our leading candidates because there were leaks about them. And, so, Jerry McMorris and myself and the members of the Executive Council, everybody on it agreed that we were going to do this and we were going do this very, very quietly. That is the only way to do it, frankly. There is no other way to do it.

Q. That is still what is going on now, what about the speculation that you will fill that role full-time?
BUD SELIG: Look, I have said this and I have said this to, I am sure, a lot of people on this call over the last six months or year, it seems to have picked up with an intensity again over the last month or two. On September 9, 1992, I made my feelings well known and I haven't changed since then. And, I can't help to speculation and I understand where it is coming from. But, that what I have articulated about myself and my personal desires and what I want to do in life hasn't changed since September 9, 1992.

Q. I'd like to ask both Mr. Beeston and Bud how are the two jobs --
BUD SELIG: Can I stop you a minute? How come it is Mr. Beeston and Bud? This is really amazing (laughs). I am just kidding.

Q. Mr. Selig and Paul, how is that?
BUD SELIG: That is better. Bud and Mr. Beeston are better.

Q. What is the delineation between the two jobs that you have and when there is a Commissioner, what is going to be the distinction between the COO and the Commissioner?
BUD SELIG: Larry, I will answer that because -- no difference. The fact of the matter is that Paul is the Chief Operating Officer and President of Major League Baseball. He reports only to the Commissioner. In this particular case, to me. And, that is not going to change in the future. I mean, he is in charge of the day-to-day operations. This is something that companies have, other sports have. This is not -- this is the kind of structure, frankly, that I have dreamed about for a long time, but the critical part is finding the right person. While I hate to pay my friend Mr. Beeston any compliments, at least while he is listening, he is absolutely the perfect person for this for a couple reasons. Because he brings practical experience of running a club to the central offices. I have felt in my 27, 28 years in baseball that frankly oftentimes that was missing. And, he not only knows the club operation intimately from having run a team now for a long time, 20-plus years. That he also knows the central offices well because of his Chairmanship of the Budget and Audit Committee. So, he is the chief operating officer. The Commissioner will be the CEO, and will deal obviously with discipline, with more global issues, with a lot of other things. But, the day-to-day running-of-the-office will be in Mr. Beeston's hands; not dissimilar, by the way, to what Bowie did with Sandy Hadden and Peter Ueberroth had with Ed Durso and Bart Giamatti had with Fay Vincent and Fay Vincent had, in turn, with Steve Greenberg.
This is even, I think, a more expanded role than anything that we have ever had before because this does name him president and chief operating officer which gives him a lot of authority over all the departments.
PAUL BEESTON: I can't add anything to that. That is the way I understand the job. I look forward to working with all the people in New York and reporting up through me through to Bud, and I think it is going to be fun.

Q. I have a question for both you guys. What do you think of the job that Major League Baseball Enterprises has done this season and do you plan any changes when the present leadership -- any changes in that division now that Paul has been hired?
BUD SELIG: Well, I will answer that. Obviously Major League Baseball Enterprises is a year old. I think it's gotten off to a good start. There is much to be done.
You know, one of the weaknesses for many years in Major League Baseball has been at the national level in terms of marketing. The interesting part is, I think the local baseball teams do as good a job as anybody in sports and better than most, I mean, extraordinary. But, there has been a gap. There is no question that over the last 3-plus decades we have not marketed ourselves nationally as well as we should. That is going to be the job of Enterprises. Paul is going to spend a lot of time looking at that also. But, I think, overall, we are off to a good start.
PAUL BEESTON: Yeah, I'd agree with that. I mean, from the point of view where we are going from marketing the game and working towards bringing focus to it, you know, the most important thing we can have is exposure, and that is of our players, the television, everything of that nature. And, you know, it is not an easy climb back. It is a tough climb back. And, I don't think anybody can fool themselves to think you can turn things around quickly. You don't turn a ship around quickly and you are not going to turn what we have to do around quickly.
From the point of view what Enterprise have been able to achieve so far, I think it is very good, very solid and now we move from there.
BUD SELIG: The turnaround -- when you look at our attendance numbers and other things, Paul is absolutely right, I think we have come back faster, much faster, actually, than we had any right to expect. I am looking at the latest attendance numbers, not only through yesterday, but in comparison with every year going back to 1993, and I would tell you that unless my projections are inaccurate, at the very least, we are probably going to have our second biggest year in history. That is remarkable. And, I am not just sure any of us could have said that a year or two years ago.

Q. This question can be directed to either Mr. Beeston or Mr. Selig. The Blue Jays and Brewers both have two of the finest produced internet web sites in the major leagues. How important is new media forms to the future of baseball?
PAUL BEESTON: I can take a shot at that one because I think it is very important. You have to be vigilant of what is happening with it. It is tough to stay up to date with everything. But, I think that one would have to say that it is one of the more critical areas.
Anything that you can do to promote the game, anything you can do to disseminate the information, anything you can do to make it more fan accessible and I think "fan" is the right word there, I think is important. So, that has to be really given top priority. But, more importantly, it has to be given all of the time and all of the resources necessary to make sure that as people start keep on using these internets and it keeps on developing, that we are on top of it, and a leader not a follower.
BUD SELIG: I can't add much to that. We need, there is no question, as we begin to intensify our national marketing efforts - you are correct in pointing out local -- which supports what I said before, that these are the type of situations that we have to be ahead of the curve now. We sometimes have been more reactive than we should be. Those days are over. We need to be ahead of the curve and stay ahead. The long answer to your question is it is very important.

Q. Can you gentlemen give us a quick update on where the league now stands in terms of signing up partnerships and endorsements with companies and how far you are along in the goals that you set there?
BUD SELIG: That would have to come really more from the Properties people and the Enterprise people to give you an update on exactly where -- I don't have those numbers in front of me right now.
I would say overall, though, that we are -- it is running about like I thought it would. I am not discouraged at all about that area. In fact, I am encouraged. And, there is a lot out there. And, I think you are going to see that the next four, five months should be extremely productive ones.

Q. Question for both guys. There has been a lot of talk that the cost of player development is something that Major League Baseball wanted to take a hard look at as well as the draft and how Major League teams are spending money on amateur players. Mr. Selig, what are your ideas about that now and Mr. Beeston, you come from an organization that made that a high priority, what are your ideas now that you are in charge more of the whole operation?
BUD SELIG: I will take a crack at it first and I know Paul and I have actually spent a lot of time talking about this, Allen. It is a source of concern for the clubs. There is no question that -- there is no way around that and there is no sugar-coating that. I mean, it is a source of -- as cost escalate, two things happen. Number 1, the industry itself as it tries to get back into the positive position, that just exacerbates our problems.
What it also does is take a whole range of clubs who need player development to be competitive and it makes it very difficult for them to continue to be competitive. And so, it really does exacerbate all the problems that we have had. The numbers are -- actually, as -- I have been talking to a lot of clubs on a number of subjects in the last week. I think I have talked to every club in baseball in the last five days. And, I am really interested how often that is being brought up now and a really deep and abiding concern. And, we have spent a fair amount of time talking about it. We did take some steps a year, year and a half ago that unfortunately haven't come to fruition. But, it is a subject that we are going to frankly redirect our focus back on because we have a very difficult situation facing a lot of clubs today. And, as I said, it merely exacerbates all the disparity problems that exist today.

Q. If could I rephrase my question for Mr. Beeston then. Mr. Beeston, your team that you just came from made a lot of waves spending a lot of money first on Dominicans and then on players like Jose Pation and whatnot. Now that you are in charge of baseball in general, will you be looking to create more of an even scale or do you like the fact that some teams can go out and be more aggressive than others?
PAUL BEESTON: No, I don't think anyone could like that. I think it has escalated at kind of an alarming rate, to be quite honest with you. Yes, we spent some money on people like Jose Pation, I suppose, John Olreud back in 1989. We have had the Billy Koches of this world and we'd like to think we got good value for the people that we signed.
But, having said that, I don't think anybody can deny the fact that these have gone out of control from the point of view of signings and that, as an industry, we have to examine it.
There are very few people that get drafted and move right to the major leagues. There are very few players that, you know, if you start looking at it, the number one draft choices, first rounds draft choices, usually you find that there are a number of casualties along the way.
On the other hand, the dollars are getting extremely high. And, we have -- the Toronto Blue Jays, and where I have come from, I don't deny the fact that we have been aggressive there; that we have maybe spent more money than maybe some other clubs. But, on the other hand, we always believed in scouting and development. And, I don't think that one could ever think that you could build a club without having good scouting and development. There are three ways of getting players. You can scout them, develop them and sign them. The second way is to trade them. Third way is the free agent market. Basically have to use all three.
But, it tips the scales in the vantage of some -- certain clubs that have more resources and ultimately I think what you want to get to is a position where you can have some competitive balance. So, I think it is a concern. I think it is something that we have to address. I don't have the answer right now. I don't think anybody has the answer other than that we know there is a bit of a problem there and we will look at that in the future.

Q. Mr. Selig, Mr. Beeston, knowing your independence, Paul, why would you take a job when you don't know who your boss is going to be, the person you are going to have to report directly to?
PAUL BEESTON: Because I know that I am reporting right now to Bud and I am reporting to the Executive Council. I believe that this was the time for me to make a move from here. I am excited. I won't deny the fact that I would be thrilled if Buddy takes the jobs. If he doesn't, then we will cross that bridge when we get to it. Up until that point in time, if I can contribute something, then I am prepared to take that challenge.
I understand your question. But, that is not a concern of mine at the present time.

Q. Bud, as a follow-up to that question, while there was a lot of speculation yesterday that this basically stamps you into office, wouldn't Paul's presence also make it easier to go hire someone from outside?
BUD SELIG: Well, Tracey, look, I have never even thought of it that way as many hours as I have spent on this thing and talking to Paul and trying to, as he and I sort of went through this thing together, his situation in Toronto as well as the office in New York, which, as I said, he and I have worked so closely, I think, look, very simply put, no matter what happens baseball is infinitely better off today having a chief operating officer and a president of his caliber and standing. And, so, I guess, my only answer to your bottom line is the industry is better off today and that is what we are supposed to do.

Q. Could Paul be a candidate for the Commissioner's job again or does in eliminate him from consideration?
BUD SELIG: Look, as far as I am concerned, he said it very well earlier: He has got a job to do now and this is the job that he has and he is going to concentrate on that. You know, we will just let the whole Commissioner thing take care of itself. However, you have got McMorris out there, Tracey, you can ask him that question.

Q. You have got that gag rule out there, I don't want to get him in trouble.
BUD SELIG: He is pretty good, too. He obeys gag rules.

Q. Congratulations, Paul.
PAUL BEESTON: Thank you very much.

Q. I don't mean to beat on the same thing, but you did say, I think, when you were asked about the speculation, you said in September 1992 you made your feelings well known and haven't changed since then. But, given that the speculation is so rampant, I mean, can you kind of give us a statement, I guess, or -- as to how you feel about just the possibility of taking over, of becoming the permanent Commissioner?
BUD SELIG: Jerry, I think I have. I guess that is what frustrates me -- what I have said to everybody and I think I have said to a lot of you on the call when we have had private one-on-one conversations, look, there are a lot of things in life I want to do. People kid me, I had an owner say to me again this morning, well, you ought to do this permanent. I said I have. It is five years. And five years through a lot of travail and in the last year, frankly, a lot of up-moments.
But, there are a lot of things in life I want to do. And I have said that -- I have -- I said as soon as we had a labor agreement we got things signed and there are some other things underway, that we were going to look for a Commissioner. So think the thing has played out exactly the way I said it would. There is just nothing more I can say and I sort of -- I just -- I don't even frankly even focus on these things anymore. And, I just have to let other people do it. But, I repeat, Jerry, I haven't changed my mind or changed what I have told all of you in the last five years.

Q. BUT that is not disqualifying yourself then, right?
BUD SELIG: I think it is. But, everybody will read into it. As far as I am concerned, I don't have to say anymore. I have made my feelings well known. I think the search committee will -- I have every confidence that they will have a positive conclusion to their search.

Q. It would be easy for you to say I am not interested in it and somebody else will take it, I don't know if you are saying that, I guess --
BUD SELIG: I think I am and all I am saying is that I have been very clear, very lucid for five years and I don't see any need to say anymore on that and I am not going to.

Q. Paul, the question I have for you, I guess, is when you look at your immediate agenda, the next couple of months things you really want to focus on, what are the things that top the list?
PAUL BEESTON: I think, first of all, I have always been one and Bud knows this well that has pretty good relationships and what I want to do is getting everybody pulling together. I want to put an organization together that really is working towards the betterment of the game, that communicates well. Then I think you can start looking at things from there. You can start looking at international baseball. You can start looking at marketing, development of the game, relationships between the clubs in the Major League Baseball central offices - all of those things.
I don't believe that you are going to see some type of a gold rush here where we have found some gold. I think it is going to take some time. I would like to think at the conclusion of my tenure in New York, and working with Bud, and the Executive Council, and other owners in baseball, the union, umpires, whatever it might be, that we are all at least talking, we are all at least working together and that takes time. Communication takes time. Building trust takes time. Building trust with the fans takes time. And, promoting the game. If we can do all of that, I will be very, very satisfied.

Q. Now that Mr. Beeston is in place, of course the media, like we have talked about is speculating a permanent Commissioner appointment is pretty much imminent. Have you set a timetable for instilling a permanent Commissioner?
BUD SELIG: No, we haven't because I have noticed in the last -- in the searches that have gone on before that every time we did that set some arbitrary time and it didn't come to pass for whatever reasons, sometimes, frankly, having to do with the candidates, that, itself, became a problem. So, we are moving, I think along the timetable we set, in terms of getting a search firm and getting everything else done. But, no, we haven't set any specific time and don't intend to.

Q. Now with Mr. Beeston in place, Bud, do you think that your duties will relax a little bit now that you don't have to be, I guess, on-call, so to speak, all the time and a little less involved with the office?
BUD SELIG: You know, I'd like to think that, but I am afraid not because Paul is going to be doing a lot of what he has already been doing and he is going to do a lot more, but there is still so much more to do. There is so much going on these days between television and everything else that, quite frankly, for good or bad, there is enough work for both of us seven days a week.

Q. Question for both Paul and Bud. What are your thoughts on realignment and when can we expect to see it?
BUD SELIG: It is my favorite topic of the day because I have been spending almost all my time on that as has John Harrington in your fair city, along with Dave Montgomerey and Bill Giles in Philadelphia and members of the committee where the committee will meet in the very near future.
We have been engaged in a myriad of proposals. I can't tell you where we are right now, because I am frankly not sure myself. Obviously, I think all of you who know me know that I believe in realignment. I think it is the only way we solve some of our schedule problems. We have some structural weaknesses in this schedule that history actually brought us on over the years that we didn't correct; that we now have to correct. But, fortunately, that will serve as a catalyst to maybe get us to some type of realignment. But, it is a little too early yet. I know we have sometime constraints here and I guess if I had to speculate today, I would hope in the next 30 to 60 days that we are dealing with it and have something to announce. But, we are still -- I regard us still in the exchanging-ideas-phase, although, you know, we have actually focused on an interesting bunch of scenarios. One has made newspapers. But, there are significant others and I just can't tell you where we are right now. But, I am hopeful that we will have some positive news on that.
You know, it is interesting, just to add something, many of the arguments I am hearing about realignment are exactly the same ones I heard back in 1993 before we did three divisions and a wild card and before January 1996 in L.A. when we did interleague play. And, it is fascinating how well those have worked out. And, they have worked out -- I think, they have exceeded even my fondest expectations and I am an optimist by nature. And, so, you know, I hope that realignment is going to have the same successful conclusion. But, it took -- there was an enormous amount of work. My friend Mr. Beeston some day will tell all of you about a temper tantrum I had, and it was directed at him during the three divisions and the wild card in Boston, but it all worked out okay, Paul, didn't it?
PAUL BEESTON: Yes, it did. I guess it is no secret that I was against three-division play. We had to address that. In fact, was wrong on it and there is no question, I mean, this has been very exciting and something that, I think, that baseball has been the beneficiary of.
Interleague play, I was kind of on the other side of that too because I thought that you jealously guarded the two leagues. And, spring training was okay and the All-Star game and the World Series, it really meant something. There was, at least, some type of a challenge between the two leagues that happened on just an annual basis.
But, having lived through early play, in the last month and a half, particularly our games up here against Montreal, I mean there was an excitement in the stands that we didn't see since the World Series. And, that was fun. Having Atlanta in here, that was fun. I must say that looking at realignment -- the game is an institution. There is no question about that. And, you know, baseball in its format presently will be in the same format 100 years from now, 9 innings, 3 strikes, 4 balls, all of those things will be there. There may be some changes, but it is changes that you have got to give Bud credit for. I have not been on any of those committees, but people that have worked on it, John Harrington, Dave Montgomery and the group that reported to the Executive Council, have done it not because they wanted to do it but as the result of, hey, look it, let us look at something, let us make a change because the fans want it. They are the results of focus groups. They were the result of examination of what is best for the game. And, so, if reassignment is what it is all about, then, you know, it doesn't change the game. It just changes the way they were going to be lined up.

Q. How soon must you act for 1998?
BUD SELIG: I would say as soon as humanly possible. I mean, obviously we need to get a schedule out. The clubs need it. The Players Association needs it. Everybody needs it.
But, I can't -- you know, after all, we went last year along time into the fall. We can't do that again. But, we have a little time, but not much. When I said we have to move expeditiously, I am trying to move this along as fast as is humanly possible. And, I think we are making some progress.

Q. Paul, you said before that you would be thrilled if Bud took the job of Commissioner. Will you do anything to try to persuade him that that is what everybody really wants and that he should do that for the good of the game?
PAUL BEESTON: I have tried to persuade him in the past and, you know, you have heard his answer and his answer has been consistent. I will go down there I will do what I can do to make his job easier. If I can make his job easier so he can free up his time to do the things that he wants then I think perhaps he will put himself in a position where he can at least consider it.
At present I think that there's been a lot of things that have been positive for the game and, working together with him, maybe take some of the load off of his shoulders - although he is right when he says that, you know, the work can expand and so we will both be working seven days a week. You know how hard he works. And, I'd like to think that I put in the same number of hours. Between the two of us, maybe I can make him think that this isn't all that bad to take him forward for the next few years.

Q. On the subject of realignment, could you comment on your views on the plan for radical realignment where there would be the wholesale shuffle of teams?
PAUL BEESTON: I think it is something that we have to look at I am not totally against that. I always liked to think that I was a traditionalist and that tradition would have quite clearly led to something that would have included interleague play. It would not have included three divisions, but I suppose -- I guess 1969 when we changed to the two divisions, people might have said the same thing at that time.
If I was around the Blue Jays, which I am not anymore, I don't care if we are in the National League West as long as we are with the Yankees, Boston and Baltimore. And, I don't mean that as a joke. I think that you have to look at them. I think you have to look at the time zones. I think we should be getting ourselves where we get to an unbalanced schedule. You know, you only have to go back to the National League before they expand it. I mean, they were always very proud and I think they should have been about their unbalanced schedule.
When we got to 14 teams in each league, it became very difficult and they learned why the American League didn't have an unbalanced schedule. If we can get to that, and if we can do the realignment, not necessarily change the game, I think it can be very exciting.

Q. You said before that the search committee will complete its job. What if the search committee completes its job by deciding that Bud Selig is its candidate?
BUD SELIG: You and I have had this conversation and I think I have had it with a fair number of people, again, I am not trying to be anything but hopefully as straightforward as I generally am. I just not going to deal in hypotheticals because I have great hopes that they will come to a successful conclusion. And, so, you know, I am just not going to worry about that. It is hard in life to just deal with hypotheticals. And, I can't do that.

Q. When you say that you hope they will come to a successful conclusion, does that mean they will have another candidate?

Q. Gentlemen, maybe you can address this. There has been a lot of speculation that Greg Murphy will be leaving baseball. Is that true and what is his status?
BUD SELIG: There has been a lot of speculation -- I will address that.
I know. I have read that just, you know, like a lot of other things. And, I am not always sure where some of these things come from. But, in the case of Greg Murphy as in the case of all of our people, it is hard to start defending somebody or defending him against - I am not certain what - and so at this point in time, we have an organization in place, Enterprises has their own board. It is something that Paul is certainly going to be intimately involved in. I have already. It was something that Dave Montgomerey and others were very much involved in setting up. It is the way to go for baseball. Greg has been its first president and other than that, there is no appropriate comment.

Q. Bud, follow-up on some of the realignment questions. Has it become apparent to the realignment committee that having 2, 15 league teams and therefore having to have interleague play on a regular basis would take some of the glitter off of interleague play and, therefore, a 16, 14 setup might be more appropriate?
BUD SELIG: Those are the things we are talking about. We are talking about all the ramifications. Paul brought up the unbalanced schedule and Murray I assume you are still on the call, will remember that the American League in 1977, when Paul's club was coming in with Seattle, went to a -- we couldn't get an unbalanced schedule to come out and so Lee McPhail got us to agree. And, I was the biggest bitcher and whiner and groaner in the group. And that I had everybody -- everybody in revolt. So, we finally said, let us go for one year. Well, it is 20 years later and we are still in that experiment. And, so, all these ramifications, and now we throw interleague play in, and you are right, it is more dramatic. It is more -- it is more exciting. It is more fun to have a block of interleague play rather than have the ongoing schedule. We know that. But, scheduling is very difficult. All these questions will finally be answered by what format we come to and then how will we do the balance and unbalance and some other things.
The answer to your question, of course, is, yes, we would like to have interleague play in blocks, but it is going to depend on what we can finally get the clubs to agree to. And, I must confess to you that I become -- that realignment has been become a very critical and important item to me personally. I have been spending an enormous amount of time. Because it will help -- I said --.
I was very careful to what I said to you before. We have some structural weaknesses that are really very difficult to deal with. And, frankly, after many months of talking and working - and I give John Harrington and Dave Montgomery a lot of credit - some type of realignment is the only way to solve these problems. And the more I noodle with this the more I am convinced. So, that is kind of a long answer to your question, but there are answers to that and I would like to see interleague play in the same form it took this year.

Q. One other thing, no one seems to be talking much about where the D.H. is going to fall in this realignment. If you have everybody blocked into leagues and crossing teams in the leagues and so on and so forth, will we have the D.H.? Will it be across the board? Will we not have it or will it remained split?
BUD SELIG: The answer to that will come when we finally decide in what format we need and then obviously we will have to take it to the Players Association and go from there with it. But, the leagues them -- first of all, we will have to decide on what realignment and then that question will be treated next. We have talked a lot about the D.H.. There is a lot of feelings on all sides.

Q. Is there any leaning one way or the other as to keeping it or getting rid of it?
BUD SELIG: No. Although, it is interesting that the question of realignment has now become the paramount question and I think everything else seems almost to be sublimated to that - give you that at least that much - that the most important question is realignment and a lot of people feel very strongly about it one way or the other. But, for those who feel positive about it, I think they are quite willing -- they are certainly willing to talk about the about DH, but, no, I don't know where the clubs are on that issue. And if we took a vote today that is one I could tell you this afternoon, I really don't know where they would be. I know where the National League clubs will be, but I can't tell you where all the rest of the clubs -- some of the National League clubs. I shouldn't say that.

Q. Paul, you described yourself as a traditionalist and said that you have been against some of the issues that have borne out to have worked, three divisional play and so on, interleague play. Does this mean that you would not be one that would go around and promote a massive realignment of teams and also either keeping or getting rid of the D.H. altogether or would you have a hard time coming down on issues that change a lot of things?
PAUL BEESTON: I don't think I would have a hard time. While I maybe a traditionalist, I would still like to believe that I have an open mind on things. I think Bud understood where I have come from and I think other owners in baseball that you go to the owners' meetings, I think and I hope that the Toronto club that I always represented on the basis that they would listen to both sides of the argument and make their decision. I lived in one house in Welland and I still live in the same house in Toronto, haven't had a lot of jobs in my life. I am a kind of a security conscious-type of a person. But, having said that, you know, I like to think that I am adaptable to change. The D.H., I happen to like. But, I got into the game, so it is not a change. We had the D.H.. We were fortunate to have guys like Dave Winfield, Paul Molitor, I go back to even Cliff Johnson, and something that added to the excitement of the Toronto Blue Jays' game presentation. So, I happen to like the D.H.. But, that doesn't mean that if there was a change that was required, and there was very compelling arguments that would lead you to change your mind that you are not going to change. I mean, you couldn't look at the surveys and look at the results of all of the focus groups with respect to three division and interleague play and come to any conclusion that that is what the fans wanted and ultimately, it is not our game. We are, and again, I don't think that I am trying to be too altruistic when I say this, but we are the custodians of it and we should be delivering what people want.

Q. Have you done any study fan poles on the D.H.?
BUD SELIG: Yes, we have done a lot of pools on the DH. We have done a lot of polls on a lot of subjects.
But, let me just pick up on that, something that you asked. I know through all the debates about the three divisions and the wild cards, interleague play, you know, you read and hear things about us, look, if I could turn the clock back to the '40s and '50s, which is, to me, will always be for me the most romantic period in baseball, I would do that. But, the fact is that isn't the reality of today.
Paul just hit the nail on the head. We need to do -- we have this wonderful history and tradition no other sport has it. Nearly almost no other institution has it on the Northern American continent. I have got to be careful to say that with Paul on the phone. But, it is true.
On the other hand, we can't become prisoners of that. If there is something that our fans want, or something that will clearly make the game, the game better, then we have got to take a look at it. And, the problem is that while -- and it is great when you look at history and the evolution of our game we have been slow to change and that is great. That is a compliment.
However, when I look back and I see now the numbers on people -- and polls that like interleague play and like three division and a wild card, I mean, it would be arrogant for us - Paul said we are the custodians of this generation. We are the custodians of this generation. We just can't thumb our nose at people. And so, you walk a very thin line because I know a lot of you are right, say how can you do this and that and, it is a fair question. I am not being critical because I ask myself that all the time.
But, on the other hand, if history proves that maybe having the courage to make some changes is the right thing to do, then you just have to just go do it.

Q. Have you are poles been anti- or pro-DH?
BUD SELIG: I think in the American League cities, interesting enough, they are pro-DH and in the National League cities they are mixed, but they are generally negative.

Q. Oh, so it doesn't help you any there, does it?
BUD SELIG: No, it doesn't.

Q. Mr. Beeston's appointment seems to be just a continuation and consolidation of the power structure who were instrumental in ousting Mr. Vincent and formulated the policies of the 1994 work stoppage, why should been fans think that this is going to be better for the game and how is he going to change the deep rooted hard-line feelings that led to the stoppage?
BUD SELIG: Paul, you want me to take a crack at that first?.
PAUL BEESTON: Is it a question to me or to you TR?

Q. Either one.
BUD SELIG: There is a lot there that I could disagree with. Let us remember that we have had -- this was the 8th work stoppage we have had, okay, in 25 years. See, I guess I am mystified by much of what has been said and written. And, the fact is very, candidly, I do reject it. I reject it intellectually as well as emotionally. One can say that this is the power -- first of all, we didn't go out and strike. But, there is no sense in debating that anymore.
The fact of the matter is that much of what we are criticized for is an economic system that people find is flawed. The clubs, I think, for very rational economic reasons, and I would remind you that the clubs, on all those votes leading up to it, voted 28 to nothing, including the very plan that we finally agreed to. And, Paul will remember this very well. I will quote our mutual friend Stan Kasten who said who said that that plan is not even half of what the other sports already have.
So, your question assumes that we were acting in some aberrational or very difficult manner that no one else had ever done. And I am not sure I understand that.
I don't want to get back into the whole Fay Vincent thing because that just doesn't solve anything and one can assume that things happened and that we can't do anything about what people assume. But, the fact of the matter is that I think that baseball, since 1994, has made not only great progress, in terms of attendance, in terms of a lot of other things, but I am always mystified and I ask you this question -- football had three work stoppages, one in '74, '82, '87, they used replacement players in '87, went through a lot of heartache. And, yet, I don't hear that kind of lingering bitterness.
This was an attempt of an industry to try to get its economic house in order. Something, by the way, that many people frankly were very critical of us for not doing. And, I want to repeat to you, it was the 8th work stoppage, so it wasn't like it just came. In fact, many, on both sides, fairness on both sides, said afterwards you could see this coming for a long, long time.
So, I have to reject your theory that, you know -- I think baseball has had so much change and has done -- I will just stand by what all the things that have happened in the last two to three years. Paul.
PAUL BEESTON: I think that you have answered it, Buddy. I think TR, from where I am coming from, I don't think there is any secret of where we stood on this one, and I think that bodes well for the relationship that Bud and I have. I may well have been considered a dove in some respects, more important part, though, is I think we all learn from our history. I think we all learn from what damage that we can do. That this is not something that can be taken lightly and that there are some responsibilities. There is a lot of lessons to be learned and I will look at the group that is in charge of Major League Baseball right now from an ownership level. I look at them as committed. I don't think ownership is ever given enough credit. This is not to bring down the game. It is not to find wars with the players or with the union. It is something that I think if we can do, we can tape the game forward. We have got to learn from it. But, everybody's heart is in the right place. And, I believe everybody can get the right focus there. That doesn't mean there is not going to be problems along the way. But, hopefully they are adversarial as opposed to antagonistic.

Q. I want to get back a little bit to the vacancy in the Commissioner's Office. I wonder if as the search committee goes out and talks to candidates, if the job itself has been redefined any at all since the last permanent Commissioner was in office?
BUD SELIG: Well, it has, Michael, by the restructuring committee report that you know, I think Paul, I remember you were on that committee, as a matter of fact you were co-chairman of it, I think, with Fred Wilpon. And, I believe it completed your work in late 1993. I guess I have often commented on that, Michael. I think the Commissioner of baseball has as much authority and power as any human being in America and one all has to do is reread the report.
The only significant change I see is one that I think should have taken place in 1967 when the Player Relations Committee was formed. That was a very simple one. Once the Players Relations Committee was formed, the Commissioner was left in a very difficult position. And, I think Bart Giamatti articulated it best in 1989 when he said, I have swaging only over one side, so I am not going to enter the labor thing. I think that Paul's restructuring committee cleaned that up - The Commissioner does, as David Stern does, and as Paul Tagliabue does, and as Gary Bettman does, is going to be in charge of labor, lock, stock and barrel. That is the way it should be.
There were no unions in those days. And, therefore -- it is one thing to tell one side of it, but the other -- you have to have somebody in a situation that can tell both sides. It doesn't exist.
I think, Michael, that is the type of things that they have cleaned up. But, in terms of the best interest clause and other things, I find -- I think they did very good work -- by the way, we have a lot of people on that committee who were on both sides of the Commissioner issue, George W. Bush, and Larry Lucchino and others. And, they came to, I think, some very good conclusions. And, I think that we have a great deal to offer in that regard.

Q. Is Baseball going to address at some point or do you think there is the necessity to address the issue of the players activities off the field? And when I say activities, I mean, such as Will Cordero and his situation or Mark Whiten, anybody that gets in trouble off the field, do you think baseball needs to take a stand on those sorts of issues?
BUD SELIG: Well, I think we have. When we can, we should. I mean, there is no question that baseball needs to very vigilant. I keep saying to everybody there is no more margin for error. We have been through -- the question that was asked in 1994 only fair thing was that all sides, everybody connected with this game, need to know that we have no margin for error and, therefore, when anybody acts up, I guess, in any -- what any of us would consider in an untoward manner, we need to deal with that, and I think we have and there is no doubt we will continue to. It is terribly important. And so, whether it is, you know, the Mark Whiten thing happened up here and it has not been resolved yet, so obviously, comment is inappropriate.

Q. Because it doesn't seem baseball ever -- I shouldn't put the finger on baseball, but a lot of sports don't seem to say we are not going to put up with this type of behavior maybe in the case where somebody is convicted as opposed to just accused which is obviously Mark Whiten's case?
BUD SELIG: Every situation will stand on its own two feet. And I think that it will depend whether someone is convicted and what happens and so on and so forth. We need to be, I think, very sensitive to that. I don't disagree with you. As a matter of fact, I had this very conversation with someone this morning. So, I share your view.

Q. I wanted to ask, it was mentioned earlier that discipline might fall under your purview and with the black eye that baseball seemed to have gotten last year with the Roberto Alomar situation, I was wondering if part of your duties now will be to oversee or even perhaps mete out the discipline that would normally be issued by the league presidents or will you be having some type of overview and overruling authority maybe if you don't feel a suspension or fine is right?
PAUL BEESTON: I don't think so right now. I think I have got a very good working relationship with both Gene Budig and Lenny Coleman, but discipline is within the Leagues at the present time. Whether it be on the field or, I guess, off the field as the Executive Council, I would expect to be listened to. I would expect to give my comments about it. And, we will move from there. But, at the present time, discipline is with, as I say, the Executive Council. I don't have the best interest of baseball clause, and I don't have the authority with respect to the game and I think we have people that are competent to make those decisions. But, I do believe that I might have an opinion once in a while.
BUD SELIG: One thing I would say to you on that and there has been a lot of, again, people critical who don't really understand the process, whether you like it or not, this sport has a different structure. We do have two leagues. The leagues have certain autonomy. The league presidents have been in charge of discipline for 80 years, I guess, and so, you know, when these things happen, people will say, well, a Commissioner should have done this or this person should have done that or look what they do in other sports. Well, that is not exactly a proper analogy. But, I think, I mean, on balance, I give both league presidents high marks. I think you look at the way they have meted our discipline, I think it has been fair and obviously in the post-season then it falls into the Commissioner's office.

Q. I was wondering when Harrington appeared at the All-Star game and talked about the one sweeping realignment plan, he also said at the time that the committee was interested in knowing what the feedback for the fans would be about such a proposal. Do you know what that feedback has been and two, are you guys still shooting for a July 31st deadline date to submit a schedule to the proper other bodies of baseball?
BUD SELIG: Well, I know John said that and I don't know yet. We are doing a lot of work on that score right now. In fact, with realignment we are doing a lot of different things because it is one of the things that we do -- we do want to know what our fans think.
No, we don't have the information back yet and I think we are going to have to extend the deadline. But, the information will be a very critical part of the equation and how we move forward.

Q. How far will you have to move the deadline?
BUD SELIG: I don't know. We are going to sort of play this week by week. Somebody once said to me, I won't tell you who, but I was -- outside of Dean Smith, I was the best at the four-corner offense that they had ever seen.

Q. Too bad this isn't college basketball. You have stated that you haven't changed your feelings since 1992 about the Commissionership, but you have said since then that you have thought about being Commissioner. And, with Mr. Beeston in place it would make it real easy for you to run baseball from Milwaukee. Are you expecting the search committee to again request that you take permanent Commissioner's position?
BUD SELIG: You know, no. I am not. I am not expecting that and I don't expect that. And, I never did expect that. And I said earlier and I will stand -- I haven't changed my mind in the last five years and I expect this search committee to have a successful conclusion.

Q. But if you were the popular choice, how could you turn down a request if so many people are supportive of you taking that position, how can you tell --
BUD SELIG: Look, in the end, as I said, there are a lot of things in life that I want to do. And, I have done this for five years. And, you know, I guess I have covered all of this already.
So, I just, you know, in life, you have to do what you think is right. And, I have always tried to do that well. And nobody loves baseball - I think those of you who know me - more than I do. I really believe in the end that all of us are supposed to do what is in the best interest in the game even though sometimes some of you don't think we do, but you certainly try to. Look, the timetable is running as I said it would. I know a lot of people are either not accepting that or don't believe it, but there is not much more I can do about that.
RICH LEVIN: Thank you very much. We will want to thank everyone for joining this. Bud and Paul, do you have final things to say?
BUD SELIG: When do you announce to this group that you have moved the office of the Commissioner to the Cape during the summer.
RICH LEVIN: We were waiting for a little down period, then we will make the announcement because we figured it would be a big announcement.
BUD SELIG: I want to thank all of you. I appreciate all of you taking the time. And, again, Paul, welcome and we will get to work immediately.
PAUL BEESTON: Thanks, Buddy. I look forward to it and I look forward to meeting you all.

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