Bud Selig was on SiriusXM with Chris “Mad Dog” Russo yesterday, and he held forth in his usual Budly manner on the topics of the Mets financial situation, that contraction nonsense, realignment, expanded playoffs and the Barry Bonds trial. The highlights:
- The most newsworthy thing of the interview was Bud’s statement that the Mets did not ask major league baseball for a second loan last fall. This contradicts reports that the Mets sought additional assistance from the league after its initial infusion of $25 million. Selig said that no second request was ever made. There have since been reports that the team was working with banks in an attempt to secure additional loans, but according to Bud, they have not approached the league;
- Russo asked Selig if he ordered Wilpon to hire Sandy Alderson as his general manager, which some have suggested. Selig denied ordering such a thing, but said he shared with Fred his “intense feelings about Sandy.”
- Selig on the contraction nonsense that won’t die, most recently the one in Forbes: “I’m not sure where that came from. We have not discussed contraction at all.” Selig was also critical of the Forbes piece about franchise values, wondering where they get their info given how the owners tend to keep it a secret. Between those two topics, it’s safe to say that Selig is not a fan of Forbes.
- Selig was more open to the idea of realignment of some kind, hoping that it gets done before his time as Commissioner is up in 2012, but said it’s not on anyone’s radar on the moment.
- Expanded playoffs, however, are on the agenda and could happen as soon as next year. I agree it’s inevitable. I also hate the idea, but no one asks me about such things.
- Finally, Selig was asked if he’s following the Barry Bonds trial. He said no, and that he considers the steroids stuff to be a thing of the past:
I’m more concerned with now and what’s gone on the last five years. I’m damn proud of where we are. We’ve cleaned up the sport, banned amphetamines, by the way. And so, Chris, we’re in a position where, you know, I’m testing for HGH in the minor leagues. We have the severest penalties of any sport. I had George Mitchell do all that for me but now we’ve moved on and there’s just nothing more to say.”
And thus spake the Commissioner.
Mitt Romney built his professional life in Massachusetts and was once the governor of the state. As such, it is not surprising that he has long identified as a Red Sox fan. So this has to be troubling to him from a fan’s perspective. From Jon Heyman:
The Romney family is bidding to buy a small stake in the Yankees months after their try for the Marlins stalled. If the deal goes through, it is expected to be $25 million to $30 million per percentage point and thought to be interested in one or two percentage points. The Yankees are valued around $3 billion or more.
The effort is being led by Mitt’s son Tagg, one of his brothers and their business partners. Mitt’s spokesman tells Jon Heyman that he has nothing to do with it personally. Tagg Romney is reported to have been planning a bid for controlling interest in the Marlins, but that has fallen through.
I find this interesting insofar as the M.O. for the Steinbrenners has, for years, been to buy out minority shareholders in the Yankees, not seek more. Indeed, when George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees back in 1973 he held just a bare controlling interest and there were a ton of silent partners, most of which were back in Ohio and knew Steinbrenner from his shipping business. I’ve personally gotten to know some of them over the years as there are a handful of them in Columbus and I crossed paths with them in my legal career. They have almost all been bought out in the past couple of decades. They still get season tickets and World Series rings and stuff. You can tell them by their personalized Yankees plates and the fact that, within the first ten minutes of meeting them, they will tell you that they once owned a piece of the Yankees but got pushed out.
In light of all of that it’s interesting that the Steinbrenners are once again accepting bids for small stakes in the team. Especially from someone whose interest in controlling the Marlins suggests that they do not consider it to be a mere vanity investment. Makes me wonder what the Steinbrenners’ long term plans are.
The Nationals will be many people’s favorites in the NL East this season. Not everything is looking great, however. For example, their ace — defending NL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer — can’t even throw fastballs right now.
The reason: the stress fracture he suffered last August is still causing him problems and Scherzer is unable to use his fastball grip without feeling pain in his right ring finger. He will throw a bullpen session tomorrow, but will only use his secondary stuff.
Scherzer has not been ruled out for Opening Day — the fact that he is throwing some means that his timetable isn’t totally on hold — but you have to figure, at some point, not being able to air things out and use his heater will lead to some problems in his spring training routine.