Selig says he is open to realignment
Commissioner has pondered changes, nothing discussed yet
PHOENIX -- Commissioner Bud Selig said Saturday he's in favor of some realignment of baseball's divisions, but wasn't specific about what direction it should go.
"I've always believed in realignment, we've done a lot in the last 18 years. But we really have not discussed that subject," Selig said.
"It's a subject that's been in my mind for a long time, but is there anything really to report? No. I know there have been some stories but they're way ahead of where we are -- way ahead."
A recent story by SI.com's Tom Verducci suggested that Selig's 14-member Special Committee for On-Field Matters was discussing the concept of "floating realignment." Reportedly under this concept, clubs would not be assigned to a fixed division, but could shift divisions year to year, based on geography, payroll and their perceptions of whether they were contending teams. No team would be able to move to a time zone more than two hours apart from its own.
"I do believe in some realignment because I do believe it can work, just as I believed in the Wild Card, Interleague Play, revenue sharing," Selig said.
"It's something that I want to keep thinking about. When I'm on long airplane rides and travels, which are a lot lately, I'll fiddle around with divisions and things. But one thing about it, you can come up with a hundred different [scenarios]. So we'll just see how it works out."
Selig made the remarks to reporters during a brief session during the Royals-Brewers Cactus League game on Saturday.
Selig, who has said he plans to retire when his contract expires on Dec. 31, 2012, was asked what he'd like to accomplish in his remaining time as Commissioner.
"We have one more labor negotiation," he said. "One of the many things I'm proud of and nobody could have ever dreamed -- if you lived through what I did back in the Marvin Miller-Bowie Kuhn era where there was anger, there were eight work stoppages -- that we're going to have 16 years of labor peace and I hope a lot more after we get done this time. Because I really feel like this is why the sport has grown so dramatically."
Selig also touched on the subjects of an international Draft and the slotting of bonuses paid to drafted players.
"I'm a believer in the international Draft and slotting and I think the whole world knows that. When they went to the Draft in 1965, they did it because the clubs were so concerned about the Yankees winning all the time," Selig said.
"The objective is to do what they did and perpetuate what they did in 1965. That's for labor negotiations, but I've made no secret of the fact that I believe in slotting and the international Draft and I think it helps small and medium markets and I think it's critical."
Royals owner David Glass and Kansas City have campaigned for an All-Star Game with their sights set on the 2012 contest. The Commissioner was asked if an announcement might be expected soon.
"Yes, I would think so," Selig replied. "Mr. Glass and I have had many conversations. We'll wait for the appropriate time."
This year's All-Star Game is set for Anaheim and the 2011 game for Arizona.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.