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Transcript of Press Conference with Bud Selig, Michael Weiner Announcing MLB Labor Deal PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 24 November 2011 12:03

Rob Manfred, Bud Selig, Mike Weiner

When MLB’s labor deal was announced on Tuesday, it sets in motion a host of changes that will drastically alter how the game functions, both on and off the field.

SEE DETAILS OF THE LABOR AGREEMENT

READ ANALYSIS OF THE LABOR AGREEMENT

The following is a transcript of the press conference held on Tuesday to announce the labor agreement:

An interview with:

  • COMMISSIONER SELIG
  • MICHAEL WEINER
  • ROB MANFRED
  • TONY CLARK

MICHAEL TEEVAN: Thank you for being here today. It's a great day for baseball. To my near left we have the All-Star relief pitcher of the Oakland A's, Andrew Bailey, to Andrew's left is Andrew Miller of the Boston Red Sox, Rob Manfred, the Executive Vice President of Labor Relations for Major League Baseball. In the center is Commissioner Selig, next to him is the Executive Director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, Michael Weiner, Tony Clark of the Major League Baseball Players Association, Carlos Villanueva of the Toronto Blue Jays, and long-time Major League pitcher, David Bush.

Commissioner Selig and Michael Weiner will provide some opening remarks. Commissioner, if you'd like to get us started.

COMMISSIONER SELIG: Thank you, Mike. Good afternoon. It is with great pleasure today that I announce that Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association have agreed to a five-year collective bargaining agreement that will allow play to continue, obviously, uninterrupted through the 2016 season.

I want to take this opportunity to thank Michael Weiner, all of the people at the MLB Players Association, and all the players for their shared commitment to reaching what I consider to be another historic agreement.

I also want to thank Rob Manfred, Dan Halem, and their staff for all their hard work through this process.

Especially want to thank and acknowledge the contributions and guidance of Arte Moreno of the Angels and Jerry Reinsdorf of the White Sox.

I believe that this five-year agreement will continue the remarkable popularity and surge that baseball has been on. I've said this often, and I'll say it to all of you today, nobody back in the '70s, the '80s, and the early '90s would ever believe that we'd have 21 years of labor peace. It's really remarkable. Clearly it's the longest period of labor peace that this sport has ever had.

It's interesting to note that baseball's popularity has manifested itself in a myriad of ways. It's been at its greatest in the last 15 or 16 years. I think that one of the primary reasons, if not the primary reason is labor peace.

I think at least from my standpoint, a lot of us didn't understand how serious the labor confrontations of the '70s, and the '80s were. Usually I (list each lockout year)…because I can still remember, but how much it really had hurt the sport. Now with the great growth of this sport, and this year ended as well as it could have, and this is another step forward.

So this is really a very proud day for us. By the way, it needs, obviously, clearly ratification from the players as well as from all the owners, and that process will begin today, so we have a lot of work yet to do before this deal is done.

But I'd like to turn it over to Mike Weiner, and again, thank him and everybody for their participation in this remarkably constructive process.

MICHAEL WEINER: Thank you, Bud. Good afternoon, everybody. This is a good day for baseball, and it's a good day for collective bargaining. It's a good day for baseball not just because of what we avoided, but because of what we've actually achieved.

Bud spoke of labor peace, and labor peace is good. It's better than labor war, for sure. But the goal of the collective bargaining is not just to have peace. Not just to reach an agreement. This is a good day for baseball, not just because we reached an agreement, but because of the quality and the nature of the agreement that was reached, an agreement that will benefit all players.

Bud used the word historic, and there are some historic changes in this agreement, some that the players have sought for a long, long time. There are benefits here that will run to young players to veteran players, to international players, to former players. It's our job, the union's job, to secure the benefits for players and to protect and further players’ rights, and that's exactly what we did in this agreement. It's an agreement that will benefit all clubs, the largest market clubs, the smallest market clubs and everyone in between.

It’s the Commissioner's job and Rob's job and Dan's job and the staff's job to do that. They bargained hard for their constituents and they bargained successfully. This is also an agreement that will benefit the game and the industry.

I've been working for the union for 23 years, and this is the first round of bargaining where we're able to really engage on matters that can be of benefit to all involved with the game.

The first time in my experience that it didn't matter whose idea it was, it didn't matter who brought a particular idea to the table or who didn't, but we engaged on matters that I think are exciting for everybody who loves the game.

Maybe the best example of that is the realignment. The 15-15 realignment that Bud and the owners announced last week. This was a union idea from over a decade ago. It was the owners' side of the table that brought it into this round of bargaining. None of that mattered. It was a good idea. It was an idea that the parties worked hard with that's allowed us to come up with an exciting new post-season format. That kind of bargaining is something that these parties haven't previously been able to achieve.

There are other examples as well, for example, in the areas of health and safety. The parties jointly brought to the table issues related to drug testing to our joint drug agreement to how we deal with players with alcohol difficulties, with players with concussions, issues of equipment and safety that the parties jointly addressed.

And there are a number of others in the reserve system and in the draft area, and revenue sharing is just a couple of examples. Of these are exciting changes that will better the game and help grow the industry.

That's why I say it's not just a good day for baseball, but a good day for collective bargaining. When collective bargaining works, you have creative, determined, even dogged people on both sides of the table, and that's what we had here.

The parties are pursuing in good faith the priorities of their constituents. But at the same time, they're looking for areas of common interest, areas of common benefit.

The process wasn't easy. It's never easy. It's always harder than you think it's going to be. But it was a successful process. It's a good day for collective bargaining and for baseball.

Let me offer a few thanks. First I want to thank the members of the press for basically leaving us alone for the last year and letting us do our job and not getting in the way. Thank you very much.

I want to thank Commissioner Bud Selig and his negotiating committee. I also want to thank Rob Manfred, Dan Halem, and all the others from the Labor Relations Department and the Commissioner's office who are here. The negotiators for management displayed remarkable respect for the collective bargaining process, remarkable respect for the union, and remarkable respect for the union's members and for the players. As a union negotiator, you can't ask for anything more than that from your managing counterparts.

I want to thank the incredible staff at the Players Association. It's going to sound corny. It's going to sound trite, but it's a complete team effort when it's time for us to bargain.

I thank Tony Clark and everybody on his team, our Players Relations team, all of the lawyers that worked on this, our economic team, our senior administrative staff, our communications staff, our accounting staff, our business affairs staff, and our clerical staff. All of them contributed to the successful negotiation.

Also, if you'll indulge me, I want to take a minute to thank the family of all of our staff members who put up with an awful lot of time away, thanks to all of them.

The most important thanks I have to give are to the players. I think everybody involved in this process owes thanks to the players. I spoke with Marvin Miller a couple hours ago after we signed the memorandum of understanding, and I told him I was going to steal one of his lines. It's a line I've heard Marvin say many times. The secret to success of the Major League Baseball Players Association isn't really a secret. The secret to success is the involvement, the engagement, the ownership that the players take in their union.

This negotiation showed that in spades. You don't negotiate without players being present, and over the course of this season, and we negotiated throughout the entire season we had 236 negotiating players attend bargaining meetings. That is a remarkable number. Many of them time and time again, that doesn't count Josh Thole and Chris Capuano and Curtis Granderson and David Robertson who came to countless meetings in New York, and other players who came to multiple meetings.

Those 236 players included rookies, it included players on their first day in the Major Leagues, 20-year veterans, MVPs, players who just called up from the minor leagues, players from the U.S., the Dominican, Canada, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Australia, from all the countries that feed our great game.

Those players were led by a negotiating committee. They had big shoes to fill. I look around the room. I see Joe back there. Joe Torre was a member of the union's negotiating committee a few years ago. We had 30 active members of our negotiating committee. That is not an exaggeration. 30 members who consistently not only came to meetings, but consistently were on conference calls, weekly calls during the season, virtually daily calls for the last two months.

Not a single major proposal was put forward by the union that was not vetted, run by, and in almost every case, improved by the negotiating committee, tremendous representatives of the other members of this union.

They're independent thinkers and they take very, very seriously the commitment that the members of this union have always had, to further the rights of all players, past, current and future.

I'm not going to name all 30 of the guys. There are a few guys I do want to name. If logistics had not prevented this conference from taking place yesterday, you would have also seen Curtis Granderson, Aaron Heilman, Kevin Slowey, and Craig Counsell, four of our elected officers who were particularly involved.

I want to take just a moment to single out Craig Counsell for his service in this negotiation and for his service to the union. Craig was one of the players at the last negotiating meeting now both in 2006 and in 2011. I don't expect Craig to be on my negotiating committee in 2016, so I want to take a moment just to thank him for incredible and continued service to the cause of the players and to the union.

Time will tell whether we're going to be proud of the result of this bargaining. I truly think we will be, but we don't need any time to be proud of the process that we've just completed. The way that the players, the way that the union, and dare I say the Office of the Commissioner has conducted itself. This is collective bargaining, in my view, at its best is truly collective on the players’ side. Thank you for your indulgence.

COMMISSIONER SELIG: Thank you, Michael. I call on Rob Manfred now who represented Major League Baseball.

SELECT READ MORE TO SEE THE REST OF THIS INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT

ROB MANFRED: I'd like to start with thank yous because you never get through a process like this without great support. The first and most important source of that support sits on my left. Commissioner Selig was engaged and supportive of not only me, but our negotiating committee throughout.

I'd also like to thank Arte Moreno and Jerry Reinsdorf who devoted tons of hours to this process, traveled all over the country, and were there for us at the points in time in the process that we really needed them.

Next I'd like to thank the people who work with me here in the commissioner's office: Dan Halem, Chris Park, Chris Marinak, Paul Mifsud and Steven Gonzalez principally, and a lot of other people who were involved in that effort.

I'd also like to mention John Schuerholz, though John was not on our negotiating committee, he chaired a committee on reforms in the amateur talent acquisition area that worked for over two years. We were in constant touch with John in terms of our substance and strategy on those topics, and he was a great assist to the process.

I'd also like to thank Mike and his staff at the MLBPA. They were great to work with. They were patient when we needed patience, and I do appreciate that. Lastly, I do want to mention the players. The players had great involvement in this process, and I think that they were an important part of us reaching what I think is a great agreement for baseball, never mind management or the MLBPA, but a great agreement for baseball.

From the beginning, our perspective on this negotiation was that we wanted to enhance competitive balance, because we feel that competitive balance is crucial to the product that we put on the field. Every time I took a proposal back to the commissioner, his bellwether on whether that proposal was good, bad or indifferent is what it did for competitive balance. We think we've preserved and enhanced the revenue sharing system that is so crucial to the competitiveness of some of our teams, by the same token, we updated, modernized that system to inject what I regard to be additional fairness into the system. We think that the competitive balance tax and the changes that we made in that area will serve to reduce payroll disparity, and make the competition on the field better.

In the amateur talent acquisition area, we not only made economic reforms that we think will help our weakest clubs have access to talent at a truly affordable price, but we went beyond those economic issues in some cases at the urging of the MLBPA to do things like awarding extra picks to teams that have performed poorly in order to improve the overall competitive balance of the game.

Secondly, there were issues in this negotiation that relate to the integrity of the game. Those issues were near and dear to the heart of the commissioner, and I believe all 30 owners. I think we made important strides in the area of drug testing, and I really commend Michael in particular for his leadership on this issue. It's always difficult to move forward and take a leadership role in an area like drug testing. I commend Michael and his constituents for that.

I also think in terms of the health and safety of players and the changes we've made in the area of smokeless tobacco will be important and serve the game well for years to come.

In closing, I'd just like to mention not only my family, but the family of all of my staff members. This is a very demanding process. I know that it not only wears us out, but it wears out the people who are closest to us, and we're over the finish line, and hopefully all of my staff will have an opportunity to spend a little more time with their families.

TONY CLARK: I wanted to share a perspective as a former player, one being involved in the negotiations and now being retired. Having an opportunity to sit alongside the guys in this go around, and quite simply put, the focus for this negotiation could be wrapped up really in one word, and that was communication. Whether it was communication internally, whether it was communication with MLB, we truly had an open dialogue during the course of this negotiation.

As Michael has mentioned, an historic number of players were involved directly in the process, and affected everything that happened at the table. Both on our side and with respect to what we ended up with at the end of the day as far as an agreement was concerned. I understand and appreciate that we've had some difficulties in the past when we sit down at the table. But rest assured I'd like to believe going forward our lines of communication will remain open, because I know at the end of the day the players truly recognize the importance of collective bargaining, and they recognize the importance of being at the table. They recognize the importance of their input in helping to set the rules and regulations that inevitably are going to govern their careers.

Want to say thanks again to MLB and our staff as well. The representation that was at the table from a Players standpoint was tremendous.

MICHAEL TEEVAN: Thank you very much, Tony.

(questions from media)

Q. How did the experience with the Dodgers affect the debt-service rule?

COMMISSIONER SELIG: I don't think the experience with the Dodgers played any role. We were always ready, and Rob certainly can -- in transforming the debt-service rule. After all, we started with a rule, if you have years of experience, the years of experience and say maybe we ought to do X, Y, and Z. That was very near and dear to my heart.

We actually are doing quite well with all the clubs on the debt-service rule. There is always a club or two that need to do some things.

But quite frankly, in our meeting in Milwaukee last week, we had a very optimistic projection as to where the clubs are in the debt service. But the Dodger experience, quite frankly, is I'll say this, it didn't play a role.

ROB MANFRED: What I would say about that is our position on the debt service rule was on the table before the crux of the Dodgers situation had played out. And those positions were really driven more by changes in the overall banking environment, experience that we'd had in Texas, but really non-Dodger factors.

I think in terms of the impact of the rule, this changes every time our numbers change, but it was a relatively small number of clubs that would be affected by the change at the point in time that we made the agreement.

Q. (Inaudible)?

ROB MANFRED: I wouldn't. Look, I think there is a press release that Pat handed out that has -- Pat, is that out already?

Yeah, it has a lot of that detail in there. I think that with respect to the revenue sharing system, what I would say is the format is essentially the same. It's a 48% straight pool plan. The straight pool portion of it will move from 31 to 34%, and there will be a central fund component with fixed factors like we had the last time around, but it's slightly smaller.

If you want to do the knits and gnats, I'll do those with you later on, okay.

Q. To Bud and to Michael, one of the most incredible aspects is the inclusion of HGH testing. Can you please talk about how difficult it was in terms of its inclusion in the agreement?

MICHAEL WEINER: I can go first. It wasn't that difficult. We started to engage with the Office of the Commissioner in the spring of 2010 about the possibility about HGH testing after the British rugby player was reported as being positive. I think HGH has been banned under our program since 2005. Wherever there were developments in testing, we sought to jointly work with the Commissioner's Office on that.

What resulted, the agreement that we're announcing today was the result of a long-time process of us jointly exploring how best to amend our program to deal with the developments, but also to make sure that players are treated fairly, and that there's not interference with competition.

So from the union's perspective, this is something the players wanted to get ahead of. Wanted a level playing field on, and it wasn't very difficult at all.

COMMISSIONER SELIG: Our perspective is, as you know, this is a subject that's been near and dear to my heart for a long time. When I said earlier in my opening remarks that I was very proud of both parties, and I give both parties a great deal of credit here. Michael says it wasn't that difficult. He's correct.

This was, in light of everything that's happened, this was something that, other than the minor leagues, we weren't testing nor was anybody else, so it meant a great deal to me personally, and a great deal to our sport. I'm proud of both parties' participation. They both recognize it, and did it.

ROB MANFRED: I'm not going to say anything about HGH, but I made a huge mistake earlier that I want to correct. I left one person off my thank you list that we would not, from our perspective have been able to reach a deal without the assistance and psychological support that Bob Starkey provided to me in particular, and the great assist that he gave to the process.

This is my, let's count, fourth time around, I guess, that we've been together. How I made that mistake, I don't know. But thank you.

Q. (Inaudible)?

COMMISSIONER SELIG: Yes, everyone knew what my position was much I've said to the clubs over and over again that in 1965 when baseball went to the draft, it went for a reason. It went for, they didn't call it competitive balance in those days. They called it parity. They called it whatever they want.

So this was something very, very important to me because we talked about how we've had more competitive balance than we've had any other time in our history, and I think our agreement -- this agreement will help in that regard.

I'm more than satisfied with the solution having talked to a lot of general managers. Rob and I, of course, have had hundreds of conversations over a period of time on this. I think given the draft and given everything that we did, I think we've addressed the points that I was really concerned about. This was very important to me, and I think both sides understood it.

Again, we've reached an agreement on a subject a lot of people thought would really, really be painstakingly difficult. This really is in everyone's best interest.

MICHAEL WEINER: You got my quote right that it's not our job to relinquish individual bargaining rights, and that's where the union stuck. This issue has a long history, as Bud said. The Union's successful prosecution of a grievance in the early '90s that preserved the right of draft players to bargain. We have preserved that in other rounds of bargaining.

When I said that the clubs, and the clubs negotiators bargained hard for their objectives, this was an area where they bargained hard for their objectives, as was their right. We bargained hard back. We reached a compromise that will affect the way that amateurs come into the game. We look forward to further discussions with respect to international players.

But I know that our players were diligent, vigilant, whatever word you want to use to make sure that we stayed within the core principles as unions always stood for. We put restraints on players before, on bargaining. I think that the system that we have here, one that the owners bargained hard for, one that we've received fair value in exchange for, is one that still is consistent with our long-time principles as a union.

Q. I see there is random testing in spring training and beginning in 2012-13 in the off-season as well, and as well as that there is the continuance of discussion about random HGH testing in season. I'm wondering will there be random testing for HGH during the term of this deal or is this discussion for later? What will it take to have it in-season random HGH blood tests?

ROB MANFRED: Well, there are a bunch of things in there. First of all, I think it's important to be clear about the agreement. The agreement provides for reasonable cause testing year round for spring training tests for every player, and then for unannounced random testing during the off-season immediately.

I think the way I would characterize, and I'll let Mike do it, is that we both see in-season testing as a possibility during the term of this agreement. In season testing is a difficult, particularly maybe uniquely difficult issue in this sport where you play every day. We need to make sure that we deal with the unique issues raised by the way we play this game before we jump off that bridge.

MICHAEL WEINER: I said before that you can be against performance enhancing drugs but still be in favor of fairness. But no other athletes have to play at the Major League level for virtually every single day for six months.

So what the sense of the players was it was time for us to have HGH testing. It was time for us to work through the issues that you have to work through to make sure players’ health is protected and it doesn't interfere with competition. We're going to start working through those issues immediately.

So the answer to your question is it possible that there will be in season HGH testing in the life of this agreement? The answer is clearly, yes.

ROB MANFRED: You can talk about the improved labor relations in Major League Baseball in sort of an ironic way. One of the best examples of that is we meet every year at the end of the year, and we talk about the drug program. We talk about what's happened over the course of the year and we have made, Mike, I think I'm right in some in agreement changes every single year of the current agreement.

So I think you have to look at the agreement on HGH against the backdrop of the positive functioning of that aspect of our labor relations.

Q. What constitutes reasonable cause to prompt in-season testing?

MICHAEL WEINER: First on that, the concept of reasonable cause testing is one we've had in our joint drug treatment from the outset. It's not new with respect to HGH. There is, I don't believe, I'm not at liberty to give you the specifics.

But I don't believe we've ever had the people that have administered the program have ever had a difference as to whether reasonable cause should be invoked. Sometimes it's for testing for a drug of abuse, but that's a concept that's been employed by the parties before.

ROB MANFRED: I think that's well said. It's a concept that's well known to us. It's a concept that we've had much agreement on and in the concept of administering the drug program. It's been part of the drug program for a long time. It just gives us the ability to do a blood test where we didn't have it before.

Q. The commissioner said his bellwether going in, or Rob said his bellwether going in was competitive balance. Michael or some of the players, what was your bellwether going in terms of what you wanted this agreement to get for the players?

MICHAEL WEINER: I'll go first. I don't think I can sum it up in things of fairness and things of that sort. We did what we were seeking to achieve in this agreement was what we seek to achieve in every agreement, and that is what the players ask us to achieve.

We started at our executive board meeting in December of 2009. Talked with our player leaders. We talked all through the 2010 season. I did. Tony, members of the staff did to get the players priority we came into this round of bargaining with a lot of priorities. In the benefit system, in the game plan, in the operational areas, in the on-field areas, literally across the board. We didn't achieve every single one of them, that's for sure. But we achieved an awful lot of them. I wouldn't want to characterize them, wrap them up in a bow under one category. But when I said that it was collective bargaining the way it's supposed to work, the collective was the consensus on what our objectives were, and we went out and fought as hard as we could to get those.

Q. I guess this is for the Commissioner. Bud, you said last week that you still believe it's possible that you could expand the playoffs at a Wild Card as soon as next year. I guess I'm just curious whether it's practical and still possible considering that you have not realigned yet, the schedule is already set for next year. I don't believe you've contracted with your TV partners for who would even carry this game. The second part of the question would be this: Considering if you do add a Wild Card, it would affect the way clubs construct their teams. Isn't it necessary to make this call as soon as possible?

COMMISSIONER SELIG: The answer to your question, the second part is, yes. We have until March 1st to decide that. And, yes, I'm still more than very hopeful that we have two Wild Cards for 2012. I haven't changed since last Thursday in Milwaukee.

I do change my mind a lot, but I don't change that often.

Q. Is there a worry that the restraints on amateur signings, you might lose players to other sports because of them? Second, in a time where we have the NBA lockout, the NFL had strife, what is it that you guys learned that the other sports haven't yet, or is it just you had to go through the '94, '95 work stoppage.

COMMISSIONER SELIG: Let me take the first part of your question. Interestingly -- well, let me take the second part first. I could sit up here all day and talk about our own labor history. I've commented a lot on that. I don't think there is any doubt that at least my career -- you have to learn. We had a very difficult labor history, I'm trying to be as kind as possible today, to say the least. Who was to blame is no longer important.

But being the history buff, and I know all of you who know me well, and you must learn, in '94 it was a terribly difficult experience, and the sport was struggling. It had been struggling for decades, actually, but I don't have to get into all of that.

I think there have been -- listen, I'm not going to comment on anybody else, because we are who we are. We've learned. I read the other day somebody said maybe they had to go through '94 to get where they are today. I don't know. But sometimes in life that is true. I'm not sure it is here.

I'm really very proud of what's been accomplished over the last 20 or 21 years, and I meant what I said at the beginning of the press conference. Having watched what went on from my first year, which was 1970, so I had 25 years to watch it and be a part of it, and to see where we are today and to see the growth of the sport over the last 15 years has been a really remarkable experience.

As for losing players because of what we've done here, I have no concerns about that at all.

I read that, I'm trying to be kind and not my usual sarcastic or cynical self, and I don't believe that -- I don't believe that's a possibility.

I think the sport is on an upgrade in every level, and I think, Ron, that will help us in every area, including that one.

MICHAEL WEINER: On the two-sport question first. That was something that was discussed directly at the table. Without getting into the specifics, the agreement that was bargained leaves a lot of room for clubs to decide how much to pay for individual players. The restraints are on aggregate spending, not on individual spending.

So if a club believes that it's appropriate to make an offer that is necessary to sign a two-sport athlete, it remains willing to do that.

As far as your second question, I think our history is more important than what's happening in other sports. I talked about the respect that I think the management side has shown for the players and for the union in this negotiation. That respect was earned by the players of this union for many generations under the leadership of Marvin and Dick Moss, and then of Don Fehr and Gene Orza.

It took a while for the owners to appreciate that the union is not only here to stay, but that the union and its members can contribute positively to a discussion about the game. About its economics, about the nature of the competition, about how it’s marketed in every way.

That was a lesson, whether we had to go through '94,'95 to learn it, I think that what this negotiation shows is respect that both sides have for the other side, for the collective bargaining process, and for the legitimacy of their objectives.

Q. Question for Mr. Manfred: Can you explain how the changes to the competitive balance tax will be applied to players coming from Japan, both through the international system, and the free agents from Japan?

ROB MANFRED: Got to take two different pieces. A professional player who moves under one of the protocol agreements with Japan would be the best example. But we also have them with Korea and Taiwan, would be subject only to the restraints that are in the competitive balance tax that exists in the current agreement. The agreement that is about to expire in a week or so.

In contrast, a player who is less than 23, not an experienced professional, he will be signed and treated like an amateur player, okay. If he's from outside the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, he will be subject to a series of restraints that will be placed on the international market. There will be an aggregate spending limit for each club, and if the signing of that player exceeds the aggregate limit, there will be penalties in terms of taxes, and the inability to sign players of a certain value going forward. Okay, so there are two different ways he could be regulated, depending on his age and professional status.

Q. Bud and Michael, there's been some talk about the whys and wherefore's and the ins-and-outs of the HGH testing. In terms of what the average fan gets out of this, and the message that it sends. What message would you like it to send that baseball is now going to test for HGH?

MICHAEL WEINER: I think it's a continuation of a message that we've been communicating to fans for a number of years and frankly for a number of years before I took my current position. That is the players and the owners jointly have no tolerance for use of performance enhancing drugs. We want to have the best program that we can have, the best program though means not only one that is tough, that deters and has appropriate penalties, but that relies on the best science and has the fairest procedures.

I think that this addition, I don't want to diminish its significance. It's important. I understand that, but it's a continuation of a place that both parties in collective bargaining have been for a number of years.

COMMISSIONER SELIG: As you know, there is a lot of history here and minor league program is going to enter its 12th year. The sport never had a drug testing program. To not only address that problem, and Michael is absolutely right, through the cooperation of both parties, but it's the strongest program today in America sports, and we've now strengthened it, because both parties realize that it's the right thing to do and certainly right for the sport.

So I know how fans feel about this subject, and, as I said earlier, and I'll say this to you again, one of the things that really gives me great pride, this sport not only addressed it and did something about it, and it shows the cooperation of both parties, and shows how important we think this is. And the only way in the end that you can prove that to people is by doing something about it. We did something about it.

MICHAEL TEEVAN: Thank you very much, and congratulations on the great news.

Transcript conducted by ASAP Sports, courtesy of Major League Baseball


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, and is a contributor to Forbes SportsMoney blog.. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

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