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07/14/09 1:01 AM ET

Selig to chat on MLB.com today

Commissioner to answer fans' questions for ninth straight year

In what has become a tradition during All-Star Week festivities, for the ninth consecutive year, Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig will address baseball fans around the world in a live Internet chat session today, just hours before the big game at Busch Stadium.

Selig will spend about a half-hour answering questions at MLB.com's booth during the MLB All-Star FanFest at America's Center, located at 701 Convention Plaza in St. Louis, beginning at 1:30 p.m. ET.

The chat will be carried live on MLB.com.

Fans can submit their questions now via e-mail.

This year's chat session should have some spice to it, particularly with the Cardinals hosting the 80th All-Star Game in a city that will be decked out in red in honor of the host team. Plus, Selig is currently facing hot-button issues like how MLB has fared this season during a slumping economy, the constant scrutiny of its drug policy and whether new regulations, implemented last winter, have curtailed the serious issue of exploding maple bats.

It's also shaping up as another exciting season on the field with close division and Wild Card races in both leagues. For Cardinals fans, their team goes into the break in the thick of it, vying again for the National League Central title.

The annual MLB FanFest hosts more than 40 baseball-themed attractions, including state-of-the-art video batting and pitching cages and interactive clinics. Last year, it set a record by drawing more than 135,000 for its five-day run at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York. Opening on Friday in St. Louis and running through Tuesday, that figure is sure to be equaled or surpassed this year.

The chat has evolved since 2001, when Selig took questions via the Internet for the first time from his Milwaukee office. The next year, the media was invited and a press conference followed the session. In 2003, the current FanFest format, with fans in attendance, was implemented and is preceded at a different venue by the Commissioner's question-and-answer session at the annual All-Star Game meeting of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Each year during the chat, Selig answers about 20 questions from fans addressing the state of the game.

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.