clopidogrel duphalac precio venta de v gel en iquique 2013 nitrofurantoin bayer precio españa phenergan precio avana precio en colombia zyprexa venta caracas precio lisinopril peru lariam comprimidos precio artane ampolla precio claritin pastillas precio colombia precio de pastillas depakote en monterrey precio del astelin en farmacias de españa comprar keppra barato sin receta pastilla metformin precio ecuador venta doxazosin ecuador quito venta de diarex contrareembolso en españa slimex tadalafil precio en argentina precio pastillas para abortar benadryl para que sirve el alli tabletas venta de lasix en la paz bolivia zestril cih precio anuncios venta de zyban precio aproximado del cystone dulcolax venta en uruguay que precio tiene el lipotrexate en venezuela precio del cephalexin en farmacias de españa venta de pastillas tadacip en tijuana venta de seroquel en bogota 2013 dostinex venta farmacias guatemala venta de cleocin gel en neiva huila venta de cleocin gel en bogota mycelex g venta en la plata emsam tadalafil precio que precio tiene el norvasc en mexico trileptal crema venta libre cardura al mejor precio eldepryl venta puebla venta de methotrexate en concepcion 2013 venta de temovate en tacna precio del duo mentat precio del tretinoin infantil anafranil jarabe precio serophene de venta en cuenca bupron sr jarabe niños precio finpecia rosuvastatina precio diclofenac puntos de venta rosuvastatin para nebulizar costo venta de lynoral en sogamoso que precio tiene una pastilla de pariet en colombia pariet es de venta libre en mexico cleocin 500 metronidazol precio precio de depo vytorin en chile herpes labial fertomid precio zyban precio similares augmentin venta salvador motilium precio en farmacias peru synthroid venta en hermosillo seroflo para que sirve tabletas fucidin interruptivos de la prescripción penal orlistat maracay venta combivent y progesterona tabletas el precio de la pastilla doxycycline venta pastillas entocort bogota zenegra precio en paraguay venta de propecia en cancun cuanto es el precio de cleocin el precio de vasotec venta de altace en peru arequipa precio de depo eldepryl en chile precio de apcalis sx consta antivert venta colombia bogota acticin venta en linea cymbalta 20 precio costo pastillas abortivas tretinoin tretinoin precio panama xalatan venta farmacias guatemala precio del himplasia generico en chile costo de las pastillas cephalexin en colombia costo de una pastilla de benzac en colombia tretinoin ovulos precio mexico differin precio uruguay venta de nexium en guatemala venta diarex san luis potosi glycomet venta en puerto rico venta de albendazole en santa ana el salvador mircette vademecum precio hay fosamax de venta libre pastillas anticonceptivas shuddha guggulu precio venta de yasmin en houston pastilla toradol precio en ecuador zestoretic precio en farmacias guadalajara propecia generico precio sarafem en argentina precio dilantin en crema precio plavix precio peru lady era generico en mexico precio que precio tienen las pastillas dilantin en mexico venta de lamictal en concepcion 2012 promethazine pastillas precio top avana ampolletas precio avalide venta madrid indocin que precio tiene en mexico alesse precio monterrey venta de pastillas keftab en maracay precio de lithium spray nasal detrol generico el mas barato venta benfotiamine popayan fertomid de venta en monterrey venta de moduretic en farmacias guadalajara antivert 35 precio que precio tiene el medicamento temovate venta de pastillas celebrex en toluca costo de las pastillas dutas en venezuela pastillas viagra precio ecuador venta betapace duitama duo alesse inyectable precio precio de calan en farmacias similares xeloda pastillas costo precio genericos fertomid españa exelon venta en la argentina venta de ralista venezuela precio del triamcinolone 80 g4 glycomet tabletas orodispersables lipitor venta en ecuador bupron sr odranal precio lipotrexate venta libre ecuador prometrium venta en san cristobal precio de pastilla anacin en argentina phexin liquido precio venta de aldactone originales precio accutane comprimidos argentina baja el precio de la minocycline costo de la pastilla lexapro en mexico suprax venta caracas venta de levothroid en arica sarafem crema precio colombia precio de la pastilla precose en venezuela venta de minocycline en merida precio de dramamine supositorio zanaflex tabletas dispersables albenza (200μg misoprostol) precio pariet precio en argentina 2013 costo de slim tea en honduras dipyridamole venta contrareembolso paxil respimat precio farmacia del ahorro precio de colospa en chile venta zyloprim cancun costo del zyvox para que sirve el medicamento risperdal tabletas precio del bupropion en farmacias españolas venta de tretinoin en gdl que precio tiene la pastilla metoclopramide en mexico minocycline precio en monterrey mycelex g venta farmacias unisom de venta en panama precio cipro 600 venta de nootropil en mendoza argentina el precio del arimidex en argentina precio de la pasta acticin en colombia precio del sumycin plus en mexico para que sirve el cozaar f tabletas hytrin via oral precio venta de eldepryl en neiva huila venta de pastillas danazol guatemala cual es el precio del zebeta en uruguay el precio del isoniazid en chile venta de noroxin online argentina venta de pastillas cytotec en barranquilla imiquimod (aldactone) precio en venezuela donde comprar finax barato se venta viagra generico en mexico aricept tabletas para que sirve lukol edigen 5 crema efg precio venta de pastillas albenza en peru beconase aq mejor precio comprar lariam a buen precio paxil venta en farmacias brahmi de compra y venta precio de la crema himplasia en españa minocin trimetoprima y sulfametoxazol tabletas para que sirve slim tea tabletas cuanto cuesta precio del elimite en colombia 2011 dapoxetine venta argentina zebeta lugares venta venta de diclofenac gel venezuela venta de pastillas clomid guatemala aricept tadalafil precio colombia precio speman en farmacia argentina feldene es de venta libre precio de pastillas tinidazole en peru precio del digoxin forte precio de cytoxan jarabe en mexico farmacias del ahorro precio de maxalt aspirin pomada precio venezuela kemadrin junior precio colombia zantac para nebulizar precio precio de aricept en nicaragua minomycin vademecum precio ha bajado el precio del strattera costo del serpina en el peru liv 52 venta en cuenca precio de retin a ecuador precio effexor xr el salvador venta de viramune en san miguel el salvador nolvadex pastillas venta venezuela venta de pastillas micronase en chihuahua venta de oxytrol en farmacias peru lotensin es venta libre dutas genérico opiniones cuanto cuesta hyzaar tabletas mexico precio vasodilan farmacias ahorro precio de innopran xl 10 10 aceon precio en costa rica precio lukol en farmacias españolas zyprexa de venta bajo firma privada nizagara de comercio venta de inmuebles precio pastillas accutane chile trimox en quito venta stromectol semanal precio costo aproximado de las pastillas glycomet precio crema diabecon sin receta precio de propecia 250 precio del carbozyne generico en mexico precio del generico de peni large hyzaar barato en españa venta minocycline bolivia santa cruz costo de las pastillas erexin v en ecuador allegra generico venta en mexico zantac precio en puebla cual es el precio de sinemet en españa precio de npxl en farmacias del ecuador pilex farmacias similares precio costo del medicamento acivir pills en mexico sarafem 50 12.5 precio lipitor solucion para nebulizar costo topamax crema precio en españa cephalexin para dejar de fumar precio costo de la dipyridamole en venezuela venta de cymbalta en temuco tulsi sleep precio 2012 venezuela venta de pastillas rogaine en peru precio de pariet crema en peru precio del confido en crema venta de topamax en puerto ordaz luvox 500 bayer precio precose 12h tabletas para que sirve precio del desparasitante abana zyrtec precio colombia cali precio de ciplox antialergico lexapro lisan crema precio cual es el costo de la minomycin costo de una pastilla phenergan precio de sinequan capsulas cual es el precio del actos en españa precio del finpecia en mexico 2012 ha bajado el precio del plendil torsemide tabletas durante la lactancia baclofen inyeccion precio precio del lamictal generico en españa aciphex jarabe antitusivo precio eyaculación precoz pastillas unisom precio amantadine 12h tabletas precio norvasc misoprostol precio colombia ampicillin venta en maracay estado aragua disgrasil confido precio precio nicotinell cinfa nimotop en chile venta zyban venta df artane en farmacias del ahorro precio crestor de venta en toda nicaragua costo del artane en venezuela zenegra urgentes que requieren orden previa y prorroga del fiscal precio methotrexate chile aldactone buen precio precio de benicar 1 en mexico precio de coreg en tijuana calan precio 2012 df precio del arava tabletas en mexico costo del cefadroxil en ecuador methotrexate venta en cuenca zyban es venta libre venta de pastillas cleocin gel en venezuela precio de crema keflex torsemide precio argentina 2013 cafergot es venta libre venta libre de zebeta en santa cruz pastillas zoloft precio argentina venta de mestinon santa marta venta de pastillas zyban en hermosillo himcolin crema precio uruguay costo de la crema carafate glycomet en españa precio finax misoprostol precio peru venta cefadroxil trujillo peru cual es el precio de la pastilla silvitra precio pastillas prometrium chile costo de la crema sumycin abilify labial precio clonidine en farmacias chile precio sarafem tabletas reacciones secundarias venta de risperdal en farmacias de panama zyvox venta estados unidos aristocort 75 precio precio del speman generico en chile precio del medicamento avapro endep tabletas generico haldol urgentes que requieren orden del fiscal acivir pills venta en arequipa 2011 ditropan tabletas en herpes zoster eyaculación precoz pastillas lipothin precio venta de pastillas celebrex en puebla precio de renagel en farmacias del ahorro que precio tienen las beconase aq plavix 30 precio tulsi sleep costo en venezuela que precio tiene vermox en guatemala venta trileptal compra sinequan precio aricept crema precio ecuador levitra precio guadalajara precio del stromectol en farmacias de españa baclofen de venta en honduras strattera precio lima venta pastillas pariet barquisimeto precio de medrol generico en chile prevacid oros precio argentina pastilla combivent precio en argentina venta de calan en guayaquil uroxatral venta en colombia bogota avodart presentacion y precio en mexico cytoxan en puebla venta pastillas para bajar de peso risperdal precio generico de premarin tabletas costo de la endep evista venta en tachira trazodone tadalafil precio penegra precio farmacia del ahorro zyloprim tabletas pdf venta de ampicillin en valledupar feldene de venta en estados unidos precio del tegretol plus en mexico venta de pastillas lipitor en caracas venezuela costo del mobic en colombia el prandin es de libre venta en mexico erexin v a buen precio venta de ginseng en monterrey nuevo leon venta de eldepryl en trujillo peru que precio tiene la crema decadron en mexico precio en colombia del lopressor costo de las pastillas seroquel en mexico venta de benicar mexico precio de misoprostol celadrin precio del metformin generico en chile costo del lariam en argentina venta de pastillas topamax en caracas genérico hoodia vardenafil precio de micardis en bogota comprar allopurinol precio costo de la reminyl en panama alesse pastillas precio en mexico pariet precio en el mercado amantadine dosis tabletas herpes labial venta de pastillas trileptal en chile milanuncios venta de feldene pastilla keppra precio en colombia eulexin venta en veracruz precio de baclofen suspension minocycline venta temuco precio de la pastilla differin en honduras precio del lipitor generico en chile diclofenac precio farmacias similares venta de pastillas retin a en ecuador venta de pastillas haldol en buenos aires acticin tabletas que precio tiene la depo zovirax en colombia venta de pastillas zyprexa en cochabamba floxin precio venezuela 2013 cual es el precio de las pastillas provera en honduras precio panmycin labiale biaxin oros precio argentina lynoral perlas precio argentina donde comprar finpecia generico barato clozaril de venta en panama venta de pastillas famvir en buenos aires duo promethazine inyectable precio bupropion aerosol precio cual es el precio de dilantin en venezuela venta de triamcinolone en culiacan pyridium venta libre en colombia precio del mycelex g colombia venta de pastillas aldactone en cancun ginette 35 de bayer precio venta de minocycline en playa del carmen trimox en guayaquil venta cytotec f precio colombia dapoxetine perlas precio argentina precio de tulsi sleep en el salvador dapoxetine venta libre argentina bayer diovan precio precio del lisinopril de pfizer clonidine de venta bajo firma privada altace venta hermosillo pastillas xalatan precio bogota innopran xl nulos de pleno derecho prescripción venta de lasix generico online retin a venta uruguay precio de shallaki generico venta de pastillas benadryl en anzoategui abana precio colombia bogota serpina venta libre argentina venta de pastillas omnicef en villavicencio meta venta de keftab en miami precio aricept en peru stromectol oros precio chile precio de beconase aq spray venta de robaxin en managua precio del nicotinell peru el mestinon es venta bajo receta adalat crema labial precio comprar midamor en línea isoptin tabletas posologia venta de triamterene mexico venta fincar ambato ecuador venta amaryl tijuana venta de ventolin en salta argentina roxithromycin oros precio gabapentina ditropan tabletas precio colospa farmacia ahorro cual es el precio de la pastilla atarax en mexico precio bactrim en peru omnicef plus generico precio costo de adalat tabletas forzest en el salvador precio dutas pastillas precio colombia lipotrexate precio 2012 df quibron t venta en tijuana pastillas kytril venta en guatemala precio de pastilla avodart venta de pastillas prinivil medellin desyrel venta en lara precio del generico de imuran venta de cardura en monterrey sin receta precio del diclofenac 320 precio crema serevent sin receta advair diskus de venta en toda nicaragua pastilla exelon precio en colombia venta de celexa argentina cymbalta aerosol precio el precio de cymbalta ayurslim crema precio colombia costo del uroxatral en paraguay zyloprim venta en guayaquil chloramphenicol venta colombia bogota precio endep farmacia ahorro bayer abilify precio endep 500 precio vantin venta en cuenca ecuador precio del medicamento nootropil triamcinolone precio chile precio de la cyklokapron venta de benemid en venezuela merida venta gyne lotrimin san luis potosi venta de kytril en farmacias de guatemala el pristiq es de venta libre en la argentina albendazole nitrofural precio venta de prandin por internet en argentina precio combivent generico en españa cleocin gel en ecuador-precio lopressor pastillas venta colombia que precio tiene pyridium en chile biaxin venta temuco amantadine venta directa depo provera inyectable precio venta de levitra en cordoba argentina ralista de venta en mexico fluconazole tabletas compazine precio venta de keflex en farmacias peru kytril venta españa que precio tienen las diclofenac precio de toradol argentina precio peni large 600 precio aproximado de pastillas amoxil clopidogrel ventolin precio venta de cardura sin receta buenos aires omnicef en guayaquil venta dosificacion de diflucan tabletas aricept cali precio cual es el precio de las pastillas zofran compra y venta de evecare generico lincocin es venta libre venta de vantin en ibarra minocycline generico mejor precio el liponexol es de venta libre en el peru venta de lincocin en la paz bolivia precio de rogaine en farmacia guadalajara precio de etodolac en republica dominicana precio en colombia del yasmin haldol costo en venezuela precio de finpecia en mexico atrovent tabletas para niños
Home Biz of Baseball - Interviews Interview - Fred Claire - Former VP & GM - Dodgers

Like Shoot to Thrill - An AC/DC Tribute on Facebook!

An authentic tribute of AC/DC that covers the best of the Bon Scott era and the best of Brian Johnson's material

Who's Online?

We have 693 guests online

Atom RSS

Interview - Fred Claire - Former VP & GM - Dodgers PDF Print E-mail
User Rating: / 15
PoorBest 
Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 16 July 2002 12:00
Fred ClaireBefore beginning his thirty-year career with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Fred Claire worked for twelve years as a sports editor, columnist, and baseball writer. If there was anyone that understands the business of baseball, Fred Claire does. In this interview, Fred talks the history of the Dodgers, Vin Scully, the PCL, and the overall health and well-being of MLB.

Before beginning his thirty-year career with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Fred Claire worked for twelve years as a sports editor, columnist, and baseball writer for several Southern California newspapers. His life as a sports writer started with an article he wrote in college, "Make Way For the Coast League," which was published in the All-Star edition of Baseball Magazine in July 1955--the first time the All-Star game was played in Milwaukee.

Claire joined the Dodgers in 1969 as the team's Publicity Director and advanced to become General Manager and Executive Vice President in charge of day-to-day operations and player personnel. Claire has received the Robert O. Fishel Award, the Major League Baseball "Executive of the Year" award, the Award of Honor from the American Baseball Coaches Association, and the "Good Guy" award from the Southern California Sports Broadcasters. (He wins the OBC good guy award, too.)

Tommy Lasorda, Ron and Nancy Reagan, and Fred ClaireClaire has also served Major League Baseball in a number of capacities, including as a member of the Board of Directors for MLB Properties, the Baseball Operations Committee, the Broadcast Advisory Group, and the Board of Directors for the RBI program (Reviving Baseball in Inner-cities). Since his departure from the Dodgers in 1998, Claire has remained active in the areas of sports writing, academia, and business consulting. He serves as an analyst for baseball broadcasts on ESPN Radio and currently writes a baseball column for SportsTicker, which has become a regular feature on MLB.com, ESPN, and Yahoo. He teaches a sports business class at the University of Southern California and serves on the Advisory Board for the Master's program in Sports Management at Cal State Long Beach. And he is a strategic consultant for SportsTrac Systems, Inc. of Boulder, CO, a pioneer in shoulder rehabilitation in the field of sports and overall health care; and a consultant for Bullpen Baseball Partners, an investment group with holdings in minor league teams.

We corresponded with Fred over the course of a few weeks and talked to him on the phone a week before the 2002 All-Star game in Milwaukee. Not only is he a man of great experience in the world of Major League Baseball, he is also very personable and friendly--a gentleman and truly a "good guy."


Dodgers

BizBall: The Dodger organization from the 1950s through the 1990s was known for its stability. While George Steinbrenner changed managers almost weekly, the Dodgers had two managers--Walt Alston and Tommy Lasorda--for more than 50 years. What can you tell us about this philosophy?


Claire: Stability was a key part of the Dodger success during the years the O'Malleys owned the team. I was with the organization for 30 years, and during that time there were two general managers (Al Campanis and myself), three managers (Walter Alston, Tommy Lasorda, and Bill Russell), two farm directors (Bill Schweppe and Charlie Blaney), two scouting directors (Ben Wade and Terry Reynolds), and two traveling secretaries (Lee Scott and Billy DeLury). During most of my 30 years, Bob Smith ran stadium operations and Walter Nash was the ticket manager.

Vin ScullyBizBall: Not to mention the same guy in the booth for the last 52 years. It would be great to hear Vin Scully call at least one more World Series before he retires, preferably in LA. What makes him so special?

Claire: Vin Scully is great because his love of baseball and his knowledge of the sport come through every time he announces a game. Vin grew up with a passion for the game, and that passion has grown through the years. He cares about the game, and he prepares for every game as if it was the first game he was going to broadcast. Vin Scully is one of those unique people, someone who is as good and as caring as he appears to be when you see him in a public forum. He is a great human being, and I'm proud to consider him a friend.

BizBall: As soon as the O'Malleys sold the Dodgers, personnel changes have become more commonplace for the team. Is that just the way of the business these days?

Claire: When News Corp. (Fox) took over ownership in 1998, there were many changes. Fox is noted for making changes--that's the right of ownership.

BizBall: Is it better? Or just different?

Claire: Without question, there were different business philosophies at work when you compare the O'Malleys and Fox. I'm not judging one as being right and one as being wrong. I do believe the O'Malley-run Dodgers stood the test of time.

BizBall: Are the days of family-owned teams over?


Claire: You look around and you see there are no real family ownerships of Major League teams today. Basically, it's too great of a risk for a family ownership. We live in a corporate world. Once again, I was fortunate to be a part of Major League Baseball when you had family ownership. I attended many Major League meetings where you had owners and team executives (usually the Executive VP and/or team GM). Today you will find the owners accompanied by a large group of attorneys and accountants at the meetings.

BizBall: What was it like to work for the O'Malley family?


Claire: Walter O'Malley was a man of great vision. He always thought about the future. The Dodgers' move to the West Coast and the building of Dodger Stadium were all part of Walter's vision. He planned for the future, and he wanted to build on a solid foundation. The O'Malleys Walter O'Malleyworked very hard, and they were very dedicated during their time of owning the Dodgers. Peter O'Malley had a great background when he became the president of the Dodgers. He had been well schooled by his father, and Peter always put forth a full effort in directing the Dodgers. I consider myself fortunate to have been a part of the Dodgers during the O'Malley ownership years.


Pacific Coast League

BizBall: For more than 50 years, the Pacific Coast League played major league level baseball in California, Oregon, and Washington before the National and American Leagues ever got further west than St. Louis. Was the act of moving two successful National League teams to California a preemptive strike to prevent the PCL from coming of its own?


Claire: I don't know if the move of the Dodgers and Giants was a preemptive strike to prevent the PCL from becoming a third Major League. I think it was more of a case of Walter O'Malley seeing the great potential that existed on the West Coast. I truly believe Walter wanted to keep the Dodgers in the East, but he wasn't afraid to make a move when his plans for a new stadium didn't receive the necessary support.

BizBall: What do you remember of the PCL before the Dodgers and Giants moved to California? How did it compare to the National and American Leagues?


 Claire: I always had a fondness for the Pacific Coast League. My family moved to California in 1950 and by that time I already was in love with the game of baseball. I loved playing the game, and I loved following the game. My introduction to baseball had been on the fields of a small town (Jamestown) in Ohio. My father and mother introduced my brother Doug, sister Lynn, and me to Major League Baseball at old Crosley Field in Cincinnati. When I saw Crosley Field and a game between the Reds and St. Louis Cardinals (my brother was a Cardinal fan and a Stan Musial fan), I was hooked on baseball for life. Seeing a game at Crosley remains one of the greatest thrills associated with baseball I ever have had. It provided me with a passion for baseball that has never left me...and never will leave me.

 There was a void when my family moved to California because there was no Major League Baseball west of St. Louis at that time. I became a fan of the Pacific Coast League and started to follow the Hollywood Stars. I loved PCL baseball.

When I was in junior college, as part of a feature writing class, I submitted a story--titled "Make Way for the Coast League"--to Baseball Magazine. And they published it. I felt the PCL cities could support Major League baseball. History shows I was on target with my thoughts.

One of the great treasures of my career in baseball was to become friends with men who were a part of the PCL in the early 1950s--Bobby Bragan, Chuck Stevens, Monty Basgall, George Genovese, Chuck Connors, Tommy Lasorda, Gene Mauch, Red Adams, Gail Henley, Gordon Goldsberry, Dale Long, Dee Fondy, Ben Wade, and so many more. They are great guys, and I treasure the friendships.



Problems: contraction, expansion, and relocation

BizBall: History does show you were on target with PCL cities playing the major league level: Major League Baseball has expanded or relocated into five of the original six cities that made up the Pacific Coast League. But now MLB is talking about eliminating teams. In November 2001, after what many experts consider one of the best World Series of all time, the owners, in what might be called a calculated and scripted move, announced their unilateral decision to contract two teams. Is contraction a realistic plan to solve the game's alleged economic problems or to achieve competitive balance? Or are owners using it largely as a bargaining tool with cities and players? And how do you think the players view it?

Claire: There probably is some support for contraction among the leaders of the Players Association, but the way the plan was rolled out didn't make too much sense to me. It was as if the owners were saying, "We can do this, and we are going to do this, and the only thing we have to negotiate with the union is the results of the plans." You know what, the results are tied into the actual act of contraction, and I think this subject got confused and controversial from the outset. It could have been--and should have been--handled in a better way. Baseball says it has problems in given franchise locations. Fine, no debate. Let's look first at the areas that may be a part of the solution to help resolve the problems.

BizBall: It sounds like you agree that baseball has economic problems, but you don't believe contraction is going to solve those problems. Is that a fair assessment?

Claire: I don't feel contraction is the cure-all for baseball. Whether you have 28 teams or 30--or 32 for that matter--you need to have a change in the structure of the agreement. This is what must come out of the agreement of revenue sharing and some sort of "luxury" tax. It still boils down to sharing the revenue in a sensible and agreeable fashion.

BizBall: Should the owners be thinking of eliminating teams when there are viable cities like Portland that can support a franchise?

 Claire: What they should be thinking of is relocation. I recognize that Portland is working hard to bring Major League Baseball to the city. I believe if you examine the basics--interest, population, and TV market--you have to include Portland on a list of candidates for relocation and/or expansion. I don't know the length of the list but Portland should have a place on the list.

BizBall: You worked within MLB for 30 years in various capacities, serving at one time or another as a member of the Board of Directors for MLB Properties, as a member of the Broadcast Advisory Group, and as a member of the Baseball Operations Committee. Knowing what you do about broadcast revenues, why doesn't MLB adopt a broadcast revenue-sharing plan similar to the NFL's, which has been a proven success? Would revenue-sharing be the single, most effective solution MLB could implement to correct the competitive imbalance problem and help the "small market" teams? And are the owners ready to adopt a more balanced revenue-sharing plan?

Claire: From all that I have heard and read, baseball is ready to share more local revenue. This is a major step. The bottom line is this: Baseball generates 3.5 billion dollars in revenues. The players and owners should be able to figure out a way to share these dollars in a sensible fashion and also develop a plan to have more competitive balance. Is this easy to accomplish? Of course not, but it can be accomplished because there will be a new collective bargaining agreement. Every negotiation meeting needs to start with the understanding by both parties that "We need to come to an agreement and we need to figure out how we can get there." The meetings can't start by throwing darts at one another or with a lack of trust. I know Don Fehrone thing for sure--baseball can't afford a work stoppage. The scars of 1994 cut too deep. And if either side takes action to stop play, the recovery period will make the recent market slide look like a fleeting second of time.

BizBall: If Bud Selig were to retire, and the owners voted you in as Commissioner, what changes would you make?

Claire: I don't like hypothetical questions, but if Bud Selig retired and the owners voted me as Commissioner, I would call up Don Fehr and invite him to my office. I would then lock the door and wouldn't open it until we had an agreement. I would then immediately announce my retirement. I would go back to playing golf and doing consulting work, and Bud could come out of retirement and resume the job he loves.

BizBall: It sounds like you believe an improved union/management relationship is critical to the game's health and long-term success. During your long career with the Dodgers, the MLBPA became perhaps the strongest labor union in all of American history. Has the union's ascendance made it more difficult for management to deal with players? Has it helped or hindered either the game or team/player relations?

Claire: It is the lack of a partnership that has hampered Major League Baseball and the Players Association for too many years.

BizBall: Is that the union's fault?

Claire: The union came about because the players had a need to be represented. There was a time when the owners held all of the power. The best time to make a deal is when you hold the power and you have the desire to make a smart and fair deal. The power has now swung to the players' side. If the players--represented by the union--fail to handle the power they now have in a proper way, the game will be hurt. It will be hurt because a fair deal--one that allows for the growth of the game--will not be struck.

Sandy KoufaxBizBall: What about free agency?

Claire: I was with Walter O'Malley at one point in the early days of free agency, and he was asked, "What would Sandy Koufax make if he were pitching today?" Walter spun his cigar and replied, "He would be my partner."

BizBall: Are superstars and their agents to blame for skyrocketing salaries? Alex Rodriguez signed a ten-year $252 million deal around the same time owners started clamoring for a salary cap to protect them from their own poor judgment.

Claire: Agents have become a very big part of the game. A lot of executives like to blame them for the troubles of baseball. I've never heard of a major league contract that wasn't signed by a team executive. An agent can't make a deal by himself. Teams have had the opportunity to say "no." Teams have had the opportunity to make judgments based on their own business sense and not based on the pressure of the fans or the media. Teams have made mistakes. You can't put all of the blame on the agents. I always looked at the agent as part of the players' support group. There are agents who have accepted this  responsibility, and there are agents who have run from this responsibility. In thirty years as an executive for the Dodgers, I developed a pretty good scouting report on the agents.

BizBall: What about drugs in the bigs? Drug abuse in the 80s and 90s was of the so-called "recreational" nature; today, the problem appears to have shifted to performance-enhancing steroids. Which is worse? What should the league's responsibility be with regard to players who have recreational drug problems? Should the league take a strong stand against steroid usage?

Claire: The use of steroids by major league players is a major problem. It is a problem for the players, and it is a problem for the owners. It is a problem for Major League Baseball. It is a Ken Caminitiproblem where the players association and management must share the responsibility and work together to find a solution. I know the problems of "recreational drugs." I spent a great deal of time with both Steve Howe and Darryl Strawberry during their problem days as members of the Dodgers. I gave the very best of what I had to give to help Steve and Darryl. I know the time it takes; I know the commitment it takes. I also know the toll that drugs can take on athletes and their families. I worry about steroid use because the problem is like a ticking bomb. When it explodes there will be more questions than answers. The subject of steroids should be the number one item on the agenda for the owners and the players and the association that represents the players. They have a mutual interest to deal with this subject.


Baseball's future

BizBall: You've served as a member of the Board of Directors for Reviving Baseball in Inner-cities (RBI), a program created by former major leaguer John Young in response to the problem of drugs and gang violence among inner city youth. Critics of MLB say the sport is not friendly to minorities and that it is not "hip" enough to be popular with the younger generation. Is MLB doing enough to make baseball a more inclusive sport?

Claire: Major League Baseball needs to do more in promoting the sport in the US. This is particularly true in the inner cities, and that is why I have great respect for the RBI program and John Young. There isn't enough baseball being played in the inner cities. The playgrounds are shrinking and not being used to help the youth and the sport of baseball. This needs to be a priority.

I saw a startling statistic that showed about half of the Major League players are coming from outside the US. Is this because we lack the athletes in the US? No way. We lack the exposure of the sport, we lack the instruction of the sport, and we lack the financial backing of the sport. We need to do more, and I'm not talking just about baseball. We need to do more to promote sports for our youth. Sports serve as an excellent instructor for so many values that have been a big part of this country. Baseball should take the lead in this area because it has the biggest challenge.


BizBall: If you compare the cultural and ethnic diversity of the big four professional sports, none appears to have as much representation from all walks of life as baseball does. How do you account for this disparity between perception and reality?


Claire: Baseball does draw from all walks of life and this is one of the most attractive things about the sport. When you look at professional football and basketball players you see that you need to have incredible size to play these games at the top level. There are no exceptions. In baseball, it is skill--not size--that enables one to reach the highest level. Baseball needs to do a better job making youngsters aware of the opportunities in baseball. Those fortunate enough to reach the top level have the opportunity to enjoy long careers.

 BizBall: What do you make of claims that baseball's fan base is aging? Is baseball a dying sport? What can MLB do to ensure the health of the sport and guarantee its popularity for the next generation of fans?

Claire: Baseball is not a dying sport. It's the best sport, by far. Does it need to do more to appeal to the youth? Yes, much more. You appeal to the youth by promoting the game. You appeal to the youth by having youth baseball programs. Baseball suffers an image problem with a large part of the youth population. The game is better than the image right now. It requires thought, work, and dedication. But never discount the importance of the game of baseball in this country.

BizBall: What about outside this country?

Claire: Baseball has a great opportunity to continue to grow at the international level. This is one area where the owners and the players association are on the same page. They both realize the importance of growing the game worldwide.

NomoBizBall: The Dodgers' Hideo Nomo was the first Japanese player to make it big in the States. There are a number of other Asian pitchers doing well in MLB, including Kazuhiro Sasaki, Kazuhisa Ishii, and Byung-Yung Kim. Last year, Ichiro Suzuki of the Mariners proved that position players from Japan can make it big in MLB as well. What does this say about the level of play in Japan?

Claire: The level of play in Japan continues to improve. The most significant thing is that the young baseball players in Japan now look to the United States as the land of opportunity. The youngsters know they now have an opening to play Major League baseball. Hideo Nomo is the man who opened the door, and he was given free agency early because of a dispute with his team's management. History shows that disputes between owners and players have a way of changing the course of baseball. I think we will see the day when there is a Major League team in Japan. It will be part of baseball being played at an international level. It will happen and it will happen within a reasonable period of time.

BizBall: Football and basketball have fairly strong presences in Europe, but baseball doesn't. Are there any plans to build the game beyond its North American and Southeast Asian strongholds?

Claire: Baseball's presence in Europe is growing and a key factor here is baseball being played in the Olympic Games. As long as baseball is a part of the Olympics, there will be funding for the baseball federations throughout the world. One person who is deserving of a great deal of credit for baseball in the Olympics is Peter O'Malley. I can well remember when he hosted the baseball federations from throughout the world because of his desire to see baseball grow on an international level. Peter; Bob Smith of the U.S. Baseball Federation; and Rod Dedeaux, the former USC coach, all are deserving of credit for the growth of international interest. There will be a true "World Series" one day, and it will have had its start due to the work of many men who have received very little credit.

BizBall: Tommy Lasorda, a former major league manager, coached the US team to Olympic gold in Australia in 2000. The NHL takes a break in its season to allow its player to compete in the Winter Olympics. Will we see Major League Baseball players--or former major leaguers--play in the Olympics?

Claire: I don't think we will see Major League players performing in the Olympics as long as the Olympic schedule conflicts with the Major League schedule. I also don't think we will see Major League Baseball taking a break to allow players to participate in the Olympics. I think we will see former Major League stars as part of the Olympics.

Tommy LasordaBizBall: How does Tommy rate in the pantheon of players turned managers?

Claire: I first met Tommy Lasorda in the Spring of 1969. He was the manager of Spokane and I was a writer for the Long Beach, California newspaper. We became good friends. I once played shortstop for Tommy's Spokane team in a Spring Camp game against Bakersfield. He challenged me to play, and I accepted the challenge, replacing a fellow named Bobby Valentine at shortstop. Tommy loved to issue and accept challenges and so did I. We were different in many ways, but we both had a great desire to win, and we formed a GM-manager team for a decade. Tommy earned his place in the Hall of Fame. He has been a great contributor to the game of baseball.

BizBall: The Dodgers have farmed out a lot of managerial talent in the last few years--people like Mike Scioscia, Davey Lopes, Orel Hershiser, and Bill Russell--who were significant longtime Dodger players back in the eighties. Is there something about the old Dodger system--sticking with guys, promoting from within--that is conducive to grooming managers and coaches?

 Lopez, Scioscia, HershiserClaire: For the last half-century the Dodger organization has been turning out Major League managers, coaches, and front office executives. I don't know the exact number of men who came through the Dodger organization to manage or coach at the big league level, but the list would have to be incredibly long. The Dodger scouting and minor league system has been very successful through the years in producing both Major League players and members of big league staffs. Sure, the system has had its critics, but when you operate at a high level, you are going to have critics. The good thing about baseball is that it can be judged by results, and no organization has been more successful through the years in turning out players, managers, and coaches. I treasure the relationships I have with the people who served in the Dodger organization during the time I was part of the team. I would go to war with this group of people any day of the week.

BizBall: You obviously haven't been idle since you and the Dodgers parted ways in 1998. What have you been doing to keep busy?


Claire: I have stayed very busy teaching, writing, and doing consulting work. I've also found time for family, golf, and fly fishing. It's not a bad combination. I've taught a class at USC titled "Sports, Business, and the Media." The most enjoyable part of that has been dealing with the students and helping a number of them find jobs in the world of sports. And I've been writing a weekly column for Sports Ticker that has been running on MLB.com, Yahoo, and ESPN.

BizBall: What kind of consulting work?

My consulting work at this time is for SportsTrac Systems of Boulder, CO, and Bullpen Baseball Partners. SportsTrac systems has a shoulder rehab program that is used by five Major League teams and also is being placed in hospitals and physical therapy facilities throughout the United States. Bullpen Baseball Partners is an investment group that has holdings in minor league baseball teams and is looking for additional opportunities. We currently are looking at a couple of minor league franchises that I consider very promising.

BizBall: What's your handicap?


Claire: I'm afraid I can't give too much information about my golf or fly fishing other than to say I'm trying to lower my number on the golf course and increase my number of fish when I visit Wyoming and Montana.

 

 
 
Banner

Poll

Should MLB Force Jeffery Loria to Sell the Marlins?