Based upon purchases of baseball related items in retailers across the country, participation in baseball is seeing a resurgence compared to last year.
The National Sporting Goods Association, who has tracked sporting goods retailers, team dealers, sales agents and manufacturers since 1929, shows in its Sports Participation in 2010 survey results that interest in baseball grew 8.9% to 12.5 million participants nationwide over the year prior.
Baseball paced behind only basketball for team participant sports. Basketball saw a 10.1% increase to 26.9 million participants.
But, the largest growth sport is individual. Yogaâs participation rate skyrocketed in 2010, growing 28.1% to 20.2 million participants over the year prior. OmmmmmmâŠ.
Major League Baseball today completed the 2011 First-Year Player Draft with a total of 1,530 players being chosen in the 50 rounds and two compensation rounds. The First-Year Player Draft resumed in the 31st round via conference call this afternoon after Tuesday's completion of rounds two through 30.
Pitchers were the most frequently chosen players, with 793 being chosen (575 RHP, 218 LHP). (In 2010, 797 pitchers were chosen.) The rest of the 2011 pool was comprised of 343 infielders (including 82 third basemen), 260 outfielders and 134 catchers.
Vanderbilt University had 12 players selected, the most in the Draft, while Arizona State, the University of Florida, the University of Oklahoma and the University of South Carolina at Columbia each produced 11 players. Fresno State University, and the University of Connecticut each added 10 players.
Players were selected from 49 states with Maine being the lone state to not produce a draft selection. The states that produced the most players were California (284), Florida (146), Texas (144), Georgia (69), Arizona (56) and North Carolina (51). Sixty-one foreign-born players were selected in the 50 rounds, including 33 players from Canada; 21 players from Puerto Rico; three players from the U.S. Virgin Islands; and one player each from Bahamas, Germany, Mexico and Venezuela.
Among the alumni of Major League Baseball's Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) Program who were drafted were James Harris (Oakland RBI, Compensation Round A, TB); Desmond Henry (Los Angeles RBI, 4th round, TEX); Matt Young (Los Angeles RBI, 14th round, TB); Jonathan Clark (Union Boys & Girls Club RBI, 17th round, NYM); and Dennis Jones (Boys & Girls Club of South Central Alabama, 22nd round, MIL). Henry and Young have also participated in events at Major League Baseball's Urban Youth Academy in Compton, California or have been part of at least one Academy team. Other players with ties to the Urban Youth Academy include: Ricky Oropesa (3rd round, SF); Kenneth Peoples (4th round, STL); Trevor Gretzky (7th round, CHI); Jamal Moore (10th round, LAD); Ryan Garvey (15th round, PHI); Drew Hillman (18th round, PHI); Zach Wilson (21st round, NYY); Arby Fields (27th round, SD); and Joe Terry (30th round, CIN).
Three clubs selected the son of their current manager: the Oakland Athletics picked Bob Geren's son Brett in the 42nd round; the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim selected Mike Scioscia's son Matthew in the 45th round; and the Toronto Blue Jays chose John Farrell's son Shane in the 46th round. In addition, the Philadelphia Phillies selected Andrew Amaro, the nephew of General Manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. in the 47th round.
The Texas Rangers selected University of Georgia outfielder Johnathan Taylor in the 33rd round. Taylor, who is paralyzed from the waist down, suffered a broken neck after a collision with his teammate Zach Cone in March. Cone was also selected by the Rangers in Compensation Round A with the 37th overall pick. The Houston Astros picked San Jacinto College relief pitcher Buddy Lamothe in the 40th round. Lamothe also suffered a paralyzing injury during a swimming accident last month.
Other notable selections included brothers C.J. Cron (1st round, 17th overall, LAA) and Keith Cron (3rd round, SEA); Joe Ross (1st round, 25th overall, SD), brother of Oakland Athletics right-handed pitcher Tyson Ross; Dante Bichette, Jr. (Comp. round A, NYY), son of former All-Star outfielder Dante Bichette; Dwight Smith, Jr. (Comp. round A, TOR), son of former Major League outfielder Dwight Smith; Alex Santana (2nd round, LAD), son of former Major League shortstop Rafael Santana; Jack Armstrong, Jr. (3rd round, HOU), son of former All-Star pitcher Jack Armstrong; C.J. McElroy (3rd round, STL); son of former Major League pitcher Chuck McElroy; Ryan O'Sullivan (4th round, LAD), brother of Kansas City Royals right-handed pitcher Sean O'Sullivan; Ivan (Dereck) Rodriguez, Jr. (6th round, MIN), son of Washington Nationals catcher Ivan Rodriguez; Trevor Gretzky (7th round, CHI), son of hockey legend Wayne Gretzky; Daniel Lockhart (10th round, CHI), son of former Major League second baseman Keith Lockhart; Shawon Dunston, Jr. (11th round, CHI), son of former All-Star shortstop Shawon Dunston; Cameron Seitzer (11th round, TB), son of former All-Star third baseman Kevin Seitzer; Garrett Buechele (14th round, SF), son of former Major League third baseman Steve Buechele; Ryan Garvey (15th round, PHI), son of former All-Star first baseman Steve Garvey; Jack Lopez (16th round, KC), son of Cincinnati Reds Bullpen Coach Juan Lopez; Christopher O'Brien (18th round, LAD), son of former Major League catcher Charlie O'Brien; Colin Kaline (26th round, DET), grandson of Hall of Famer Al Kaline; David Lucroy (29th round, MIL), brother of Milwaukee Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy; Bryan Harper (30th round, WSH), brother of 2010 top overall selection Bryce Harper; Nick Avila (37th round, DET), brother of Detroit Tigers catcher Alex Avila; Brandon Bonilla (37th round, COL), son of former All-Star outfielder Bobby Bonilla; Stefan Jarrin (40th round, LAD), grandson of longtime Los Angeles Dodgers Spanish radio announcer Jaime Jarrin; Kyle Arnsberg (40th round, STL), son of Houston Astros pitching coach Brad Arnsberg; Alexander Fernandez (46th round, DET), son of former Major League pitcher Alex Fernandez; Jacob Wakamatsu (48th round, TOR), son of Toronto Blue Jays bench coach Don Wakamatsu; and Brandon Leibrandt (48th round, TB), son of former Major League pitcher Charlie Leibrandt.
Select Read More to see a list of each of the 1,530 players selected in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft
Major League Baseball has completed the first day of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, which aired live on MLB Network and MLB.com this evening from Studio 42 at MLB Network in Secaucus, New Jersey. In total, 60 players were selected through the first round and the first compensation round.
Pitchers were selected with each of the first four overall selections for the first time in the history of the First-Year Player Draft. Prior to tonight, pitchers had been picked with the first two overall selections only twice, in 1976 and in 2006. Nineteen pitchers, including 13 right-handers and six left-handers, were selected in the first round of the Draft, one shy of the record of 20 set in 1999 and 2001. Other players taken in the opening round featured nine infielders and four outfielders. Blake Swihart, who was taken 26th overall by the Boston Red Sox from V. Sue Cleveland H.S. in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, was the only catcher selected in the opening round. UCLA teammates Gerrit Cole (1st overall, PIT) and Trevor Bauer (3rd overall, ARI) became just the third pair of teammates, high school or college, to be selected within the first three overall picks. The pitching duo joins Darren Dreifort (2nd overall, LAD) and Brian Anderson (3rd overall, CAL), who were taken out of Wichita State University in 1993, and Bob Horner (1st overall, ATL) and Hubie Brooks (3rd overall, NYM), who were selected from Arizona State University in 1978.
University of Connecticut outfielder George Springer (11th overall, HOU) and right-handed pitcher Matt Barnes (19th overall, BOS) were the only other pair of teammates selected in the opening round. The 2011 First-Year Player Draft marked the 10th consecutive year that at least one pair of teammates were taken in the first round.
A total of 18 players were chosen from the college ranks while the other 15 players selected in the first round came from high school. The state of California produced six players selected in the first round, while Florida had three and Connecticut, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oklahoma, and Texas each had two players chosen.
University of Hawaii second baseman Kolten Wong, who was selected 22nd overall by the St. Louis Cardinals, became just the third native of Hawaii to be taken in the first round, joining Dave Masters (24th overall, CHI) in 1985 and Justin Wayne (5th overall, MON) in 2000. In addition, he is the third player from the University of Hawaii to be selected in the first round, joining Mike Campbell (7th overall, SEA) in 1985 and Mark Johnson (19th overall, HOU) in 1996.
Right-handed pitcher Joe Ross, who is the brother of Oakland Athletics right-hander Tyson Ross, was taken 22nd overall by the San Diego Padres out of The Bishop OâDowd School in Oakland, California. Tyson, who was a second round selection of the Athletics in 2008 out of the University of California at Berkeley, also attended The Bishop OâDowd School. Third baseman Dante Bichette, Jr., the son of former Major League All-Star Dante Bichette, was selected 51st overall by the New York Yankees out of Orangewood Christian H.S. in Maitland, Florida. Outfielder Dwight Smith, Jr., the son of former Major Leaguer Dwight Smith, was the 53rd overall pick by the Toronto Blue Jays from McIntosh H.S. in Peachtree City, Georgia.
The First-Year Player Draft is scheduled to continue on Tuesday via conference call beginning with the second round at 12:00 p.m. (EDT) and is scheduled to go through the 30th round. The Draft will resume on Wednesday beginning with the 31st round at 12:00 p.m. (EDT). The Draft will have 50 rounds and will conclude after all 30 teams have passed on a selection or after the final selection of the 50th round, whichever comes first.
Beginning on Tuesday, MLB.com will offer comprehensive live programming of the Draftâs final two days, including a live pick-by-pick stream, expert commentary and the exclusive Draft Tracker, a searchable database of every draft-eligible player, featuring statistics, scouting reports and video highlights.
Select READ MORE to see each player drafted in the first round of the 2011 MLB First-Year Player Draft
Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista, who leads the Majors with 20 home runs and 45 runs scored, is Major League Baseballâs top overall vote-getter in the first A.L. balloting figures for the 82nd All-Star Game, to be played on Tuesday, July 12th at Chase Field.
Bautista, who was selected to his first All-Star Game in 2010, has received 1,261,659 votes in his bid to become the first Blue Jay ever to finish as the top overall vote-getter in the Major Leagues. Jose is also attempting to become the first Blue Jays player to be elected to start by the fans since first baseman Carlos Delgado in 2003, and the first Toronto outfielder elected since Joe Carter in 1994. Bautista is joined in the outfield by CurtisGranderson (994,315) of the New York Yankees and 2010 A.L. Most Valuable Player Josh Hamilton (748,240)
of the Texas Rangers. Granderson is seeking his second All-Star appearance and his first fan-elected start after representing the A.L. in 2009 as a member of the Detroit Tigers, while Hamilton aims for his fourth consecutive fan-elected start. Seattleâs Ichiro Suzuki (674,406), an All-Star in each of his 10 Major League seasons and a fan elected starter nine times, is a close fourth among A.L. outfielders, followed by Hamiltonâs Texas teammate Nelson Cruz (514,006) and Jacoby Ellsbury (494,721) of the Boston Red Sox.
New York Yankees two-time A.L. All-Star Robinson Cano, the starting second baseman at the 2010 Midsummer Classic, has garnered 1,185,952 total votes, which ranks second overall in the Majors behind only Bautista. Cano, who is one of six Yankees players among the leaders at their respective positions, leads Dustin Pedroia (586,361) of the Red Sox. Cano is joined in the infield by teammates Mark Teixeira (827,247), who ranks ahead of Bostonâs Adrian Gonzalez (685,262) at first base; 11-time A.L. All-Star Derek Jeter (931,410), who is outpacing Clevelandâs Asdrubal Cabrera (672,105) at shortstop; and 13-time A.L. All-Star Alex Rodriguez (945,127), who is trailed by Adrian Beltre (755,551) of the Rangers at third base. Rodriguez is aiming to become just the seventh player in history to earn at least 12 fan elections. He would join Cal Ripken, Jr. (17), Rod Carew (15), Ken Griffey, Jr. (13), Barry Bonds (12), Ivan Rodriguez (12) and Ozzie Smith (12).
At catcher, Yankees backstop Russell Martin (843,459) leads four-time All-Star and 2010 MLB top vote-getter Joe Mauer (593,949) of the Minnesota Twins, who has started behind the plate for the A.L. in each of the previous three Midsummer Classics. Six-time A.L. All-Star Michael Young of the Texas Rangers has received 646,979 total votes at designated hitter, slightly ahead of six-time A.L. All-Star David Ortiz (618,609) of the Red Sox.
The 2011 American League and National League All-Star Teams will be unveiled on Sunday, July 3rd on the 2011 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show presented by Taco Bell, televised nationally on TBS. The American League All-Star Team will have nine elected starters via the fan balloting program, while the National League All-Star Team will have eight fan-elected starters. The pitchers and reserves for both squads â totaling 25 for the N.L. and 24 for the A.L. â will be determined through a combination of âPlayer Ballotâ choices and selections made by the two All-Star managers â National League manager Bruce Bochy of the San Francisco
Giants and American League skipper Ron Washington of the Texas Rangers â in conjunction with Major League Baseball.
Immediately following the announcement of the American League and National League All-Star rosters on Sunday, July 3rd, fans will begin voting to select the final player for each Leagueâs 34-man roster via the 2011 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote Sponsored by Sprint. Fans will cast their votes from a list of five players from each League over a four-day period and the winners will be announced after the voting concludes on Thursday, July 7th. Now in its seventh year, fans again will be able to make their Final Vote selections on their mobile phones, courtesy of Sprint.
The 82nd Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD and Le Reseau des Sports, and around the world by Major League Baseball International, with pregame ceremonies beginning at 8:00 p.m. (EDT)/5:00 p.m. (PDT). ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage. MLB Network, MLB.com and Sirius XM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Game coverage.
Nine-time National League All-Star Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals, who led the National League in All-Star voting in 2010, is the N.L.âs leading vote-getter in the first N.L. balloting figures for the 82nd All-Star Game, to be played on Tuesday, July 12th at Chase Field.
Pujols, a three-time N.L. MVP and five-time fan-elected starter, has started at first base in each of theÂ previous two Midsummer Classics, and has received 988,784 votes, ahead of the N.L.âs reigning MVP, Joey Votto (806,346) of the Cincinnati Reds. Troy Tulowitzki of the Colorado Rockies leads the way at shortstop,Â ranking second overall in the N.L. with 975,777 votes. Tulowitzki, who was selected to his first All-Star GameÂ in 2010, ranks ahead of Philadelphiaâs Jimmy Rollins (454,782). At second base, Brandon Phillips (837,778)Â of the Reds, who is seeking his second All-Star selection and first as a starter, ranks ahead of MilwaukeeâsÂ Rickie Weeks (562,071). Rounding out the infield at third base is Placido Polanco (724,724) of theÂ Philadelphia Phillies, who holds a lead over Atlantaâs Chipper Jones (540,168). Behind the plate, San FranciscoÂ Giants catcher Buster Posey (785,314) leads 2010 All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Brian McCann (633,987) of the Braves.
The N.L. outfield is led by Milwaukeeâs Ryan Braun, who has totaled 971,809 votes, slightly behindÂ Pujols and Tulowitzki for the N.L. lead. Braun, who has started in the N.L. outfield in each of the last threeÂ seasons, is joined by Cardinals teammates Matt Holliday (927,778) and Lance Berkman (872,434), whoÂ rank second and third among outfielders, respectively. Holliday, a four-time All-Star, is seeking his first All-Â Star start while Berkman, the N.L. starting first baseman at the 2008 Midsummer Classic, has represented theÂ N.L. five times during his career. Andre Ethier of the Los Angeles Dodgers, a fan-elected starter in 2010, ranksÂ fourth among outfielders with 776,971 votes, followed by his teammate Matt Kemp (549,215) and JasonÂ Heyward (484,291) of the Braves. MLB All-Star FanFest official spokesperson and 2009 N.L. All-Star JustinÂ Upton of the hometown Arizona Diamondbacks currently ranks 10th among outfielders with 338,487 votes.
The Major League Baseball All-Star Game Balloting Program is the largest of its kind in professionalÂ sports. More than 20 million Firestone All-Star ballots will be distributed at the 30 Major League ballparks, each of which will have 23 home dates for balloting, and in approximately 100 Minor League ballparks. EveryÂ Major League Club began its in-stadium balloting no later than Tuesday, May 10th. Fans can cast their votes for starters up to 25 times exclusively at MLB.com and allÂ 30 Club web sites â online or via their mobile devices â with the 2011 All-Star Game MLB.com BallotÂ Sponsored by Sprint, which offers English and Spanish-language versions of the online ballot as well as audioÂ CAPTCHA functionality for visually-impaired fans. When the in-stadium phase of balloting concludes on Friday,Â June 24th, fans will have the opportunity to cast their ballots exclusively online at MLB.com and the 30 ClubÂ Web sites until Thursday, June 30th at 11:59 p.m. (EDT).
Firestone, the official tire of MLB, is once again the exclusive sponsor of the 2011 In-Stadium All-StarÂ Balloting Program. The ballot features an All-Star sweepstakes, in which a winner will win a trip for two toÂ MLB All-Star Week, including hotel, airfare, tickets to the All-Star Game and other MLB All-Star Week events,Â and a set of four Firestone tires. Scotts, the official lawn care company of MLB, is once again the sponsor of the retail All-Star BallotingÂ Program, which began on May 10th at more than 1,700 Lowes stores across the country. The Scotts ballotÂ features an All-Star sweepstakes, where a winner and one guest will win a trip to the MLB All-Star WeekÂ including hotel, airfare, tickets to the All-Star Game, and a $500 MasterCard gift card. Banco BHD sponsors All-Star balloting in the Dominican Republic, making Spanish-language ballotsÂ available online at lasmayores.com, the official Spanish-language Web site of Major League Baseball, and at All- Star balloting terminals across more than 80 branches, through June 30th.
The 2011 American League and National League All-Star Teams will be unveiled on Sunday, July 3rd onÂ the 2011 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show, televised nationally on TBS. The American League All-Star TeamÂ will have nine elected starters via the fan balloting program, while the National League All-Star Team will haveÂ eight fan-elected starters. The pitchers and reserves for both squads â totaling 25 for the N.L. and 24 for theÂ A.L. â will be determined through a combination of âPlayer Ballotâ choices and selections made by the two All-Star managers â National League manager Bruce Bochy of the San Francisco Giants and American LeagueÂ skipper Ron Washington of the Texas Rangers â in conjunction with Major League Baseball.
Immediately following the announcement of the American League and National League All-Star rostersÂ on Sunday, July 3rd, fans will begin voting to select the final player for each Leagueâs 34-man roster via theÂ 2011 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote Sponsored by Sprint. Fans will cast their votes from a list of fiveÂ players from each League over a four-day period and the winners will be announced after the voting concludesÂ on Thursday, July 7th. Now in its seventh year, fans again will be able to make their Final Vote selections on their mobile phones, courtesy of Sprint.
The 82nd Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada byÂ Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD and Le Reseau des Sports, and around the world by Major LeagueÂ Baseball International, with pregame ceremonies beginning at 8:00 p.m. (EDT)/5:00 p.m. (PDT). ESPN RadioÂ and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage. MLB Network, MLB.com and SiriusÂ XM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Game coverage.
SELECT READ MORE TO SEE ALL-STAR VOTING DETAILS FOR THE NATIONAL LEAGUE
Not only did the Giants win the World Series in 2010, but they top PeTA's annual Top 10 Vegetarian-Friendly Ballparks list
Remember the days when ballpark food was a hot dog and a beer? Those days are done. Ballparks are pulling out all the stops to offer food faire that is light years beyond where it was just 20 years ago.
And, as America has become more vegetarian friendly, ballclubs have picked up on what the fans might be looking for.
Thursday, PeTA released its 10th annual list of the best vegi-friendly ballparks around Major League Baseball. Hereâs the top ten list. Each club on the Top 10 Vegetarian-Friendly Ballparks list will receive a framed certificate from PETA.
1. San Francisco Giants' AT&T Park
Not only did the Giants win the World Series in 2010, but they also top PeTAâs list as Major League Baseballâs top Vegi-friendly ballpark. Meat-free options at AT&T Park include veggie dogs, veggie burgers, portobello mushroom sandwiches, meatless burritos, grilled vegetable sandwiches, and noodles with ginger, sesame, and veggies.
2. Philadelphia Phillies' Citizens Bank Park
The Phillies lead the NL East, and are near the top of PeTAâs list. Citizens Bank Park's vegetarian menu, including Southwest black-bean burgers, mock-steak sandwiches, breaded faux-chicken sandwiches, and tangy hummus with pita chips. Don't forget the closer: the vegan rice krispie treat.
3. Detroit Tigers' Comerica Park
Offerings include flame-broiled veggie Italian sausages and black-bean burgers on the grill, Comerica Park is the place to be this summer. You can also enjoy vegetable stir-fries, veggie dogs, veggie burgers, vegetable sushi, and hummus plates.
4. Atlanta Braves' Turner Field
Offerings include cholesterol-free fare at the concession stands, such as veggie burgers, veggie dogs, meatless burritos, vegetable sushi, veggie pasta, and dairy-free smoothies.
5. Colorado Rockies' Coors Field
Offerings include grilled portobello sandwiches, veggie dogs, veggie burgers, vegetable wraps, baked potatoes, and meatless burritos.
6. Oakland Athletics' Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum
Offerings include veggie burger, meatless burrito, made-to-order salads, and portobello sliders, carried the venue into our top 10 this year.
7. San Diego Padres' PETCO Park
Offerings include veggie dogs, veggie burgers, hummus and vegetables, roasted corn, edamame, and fresh fruit salads.
8. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim's Angel Stadium
Offerings include black-bean burgers, vegetable sushi, bean burritos, edamame, fresh fruit cups, corn on the cob, and roasted vegetable sandwiches on ciabatta rolls.
9. Houston Astros' Minute Maid Park
Meat-free food offerings include veggie burgers, mushroom sliders, fresh fruit smoothies, baked potatoes, made-to-order salads, and sun-dried tomato rigatoni.
10. Milwaukee Brewers' Miller Park
Even if vegetarian slugger Prince Fielder leaves, the Brewers will still have mouthwatering meat-free choices to please their fans, like a portobello mushroom focaccia sandwich, a vegetable wrap, fresh fruit, build-your-own burritos, and a hearty veggie dog.
SPECIAL BUSINESS OF SPORTS NETWORK REPORTS: The Labor Battle in the NFL. See BizOfFootball.com for details
The quarterly owners meetings of Major League Baseball have concluded in New York, and with it, Commissioner Selig addressed the media updating them on what transpired at the meetings. Hereâs a breakdown of todayâs meeting, according to Selig:
As reported prior, Nolan Ryan was approved as the control person of the Texas Rangers
A presentation by the Stand Up 2 Cancer group was given, which Selig said was, âcandidly the most emotional presentation of the day,â adding that it was âremarkableâ.
Jane Forbes Clark and Jeff Idelson from the Baseball Hall of Fame gave a presentation.
Joe Torre, in his new position as Executive VP of Baseball Operations, got his first rule change approved. Â A key rule change, it relates to how prospects in Latin America may be accompanied when they enter or visit club academies.Â Clubs will now be allowed to cover the expenses of one guardian to accompany the amateur player.Â This decision was made because of the youth of some of the prospects. Selig said it was a âunanimous voteâ and joked âit might be the last one he ever gets.â
Tim Brosnan, MLBâs Executive Vice President of Business gave an enterprise report.
Rob Manfred and Jonathan Mariner gave a âbaseball economicsâ presentation to the owners.
A âticket committeeâ made up of six clubs gave a presentation headed by Indians President Mark Shapiro; Braves Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Derek Schiller, and; Reds Chief Operating Officer Phil Castellini all gave the presentation.
Other presentations were given to the owners by Bob Bowman of MLB Advanced Media, and Tony Petitte of MLB Network.
Selig would not discuss details a meeting between he and Dodgers owner Frank McCourt. McCourt has said that getting the proposed television extension with Fox as critical, with McCourt saying to the LA Times, "I just emphasized the importance of timing," a reference to the fact that the club will not have the money to make end of month payroll without the deal. Hereâs the Q&A on the Dodgers situation with reporters from Selig:
QUESTION: Could you describe your meeting with Dodgers owner Frank McCourt?
SELIG: No. We did meet. That's all I have to say at this point.
QUESTION: What is your level of confidence McCourt can meet payroll this month?
SELIG: I don't have any comment on that.
QUESTION: Are you concerned about the amount of complaining the Dodgers have had with regard to the role of [trustee Tom] Schieffer?
SELIG: No. I'm not in the least concerned. We're doing this very thoughtfully, very sensitively, with a lot of planning. I'm very comfortable with where we are. I gave up worrying about owners complaining about 18 years ago. We have done this with a lot of thought, very carefully, painstaking even in the selection of Tom Schieffer, who I have great faith in. Let's just say we're very comfortable with where we are.
QUESTION: How do you respond to McCourt saying the outcome is "predetermined?"
SELIG: Number one, the outcome is not predetermined. When I talked to Tom Schieffer and offered him the position, I just told him to go out there. He's got a lot of baseball experience. He and I were in the business a long time together. I have great faith in his ability. Nothing has been predetermined. That's why he is there, to monitor things [on a day-to-day basis]. And that is why Proskauer, our law firm, is doing a lot of other work [on the MLB investigation into the Dodgers' finances]. We wouldn't have to go through all this if it was predetermined. I'm doing it because I think it is the right thing to do. There are a lot of facts that develop. You can't develop facts ... without doing this. So it has not been predetermined. People can say whatever they want. I will anxiously await the reports from both parties, Proskauer and the monitor. Certainly, the reports will be very important.
QUESTION: When do you anticipate the reports coming in?
SELIG: I do not know. It's hard to set. There's no way I can say you have to be done in seven days or six days or three days. I don't know.
QUESTION: But the Dodgers' point is that you could take as long as you need to get the reports, but they could run out of money in the meantime.
SELIG: Look, everybody has moved in as expeditious a manner as possible. They'll continue to do that, but I can't set a timeline.
QUESTION: Is there a chance that, when all is said and done, that you would approve the Fox contract and McCourt would remain as the Dodgers' owner?
SELIG: I'm not going to get into that until I have the reports. We have both a monitoring and an investigative approach to this. When I have all the information, I will make decisions.
QUESTION: Would you consider approving -- or would you have to approve -- another loan should McCourt be able to get one?
SELIG: That's just speculation. The only thing I will say is that this sport has very definitive rules. It is my job to make sure those rules are being enforced. End of discussion.
QUESTION: Are the Dodgers in compliance with baseball's debt service rules?
SELIG: There will be a time, but I'm not going to get into that today.
QUESTION: Can you share what other owners said about the Dodgers situation?
QUESTION: Steve Garvey has said he has a group that wants to buy the Dodgers. Could you comment on that?
SELIG: I know he has. I talked to Steve Garvey a long time ago. We're not there yet. We're not ready. The club isn't for sale. I know he has announced that, and there are a lot of other people in L.A. who apparently have expressed interest, but we're not ready to discuss that. That is premature, to say the least.
QUESTION: Even if you don't have a date when you expect the reports, when would you like to see them?
SELIG: As expeditiously as possible. I'm all for that too. Tom Schieffer has been very aggressive. The Proskauer firm that is doing the investigation has been extremely conscientious. We're moving as fast as we can. To use one of my favorite teams, nobody is using the Dean Smith four-corner offense.
QUESTION: Are you prepared to say the contracts of the Dodgers players will not be defaulted upon?
SELIG: I really don't want to engage in all those things today. I talk to Tom Schieffer about four times a day. ...Â There will be a time for all that. I'm not going to engage in that kind of speculation.
QUESTION: Will you hire another monitor to assist Schieffer?
SELIG: Possibly, yes.
QUESTION: Are you disappointed Dick Freeman did not disclose his work for Jamie McCourt? [Freeman was the assistant monitor hired Monday morning and let go Monday afternoon after MLB learned he had consulted for Frank McCourt's ex-wife in their divorce case.]
SELIG: Yeah. I've had a long relationship with Dick Freeman, as Tom has. He is a really competent executive. He's done great work wherever he's been. He's very good in this area. I don't know. Sometimes, things happen. He was perfect for the job. We'll find somebody else.
Just to close this part of it out, we are not dragging our feet at all. It's in no one's best interest, certainly ours.
LISTEN TO SELIGâS PRESS CONFERENCE AUDIO
SPECIAL BUSINESS OF SPORTS NETWORK REPORTS: The Labor Battle in the NFL. See BizOfFootball.com for details
In what can only be described as the least surprising news out of Major League Baseball in some time, Commissioner Selig announced today that the Major League owners have formally approved the designation of Nolan Ryan as the control person of the Texas Rangers. The Major League Clubs voted during todayâs quarterly owners meetings at Major League Baseballâs New York headquarters.
Selig jokingly said to the media after the vote, that there was "intense debate for about 12 seconds."
While Tom Scheiffer, the trustee for Major League Baseball assigned to oversee the day-to-day operations of the Dodgers was in Los Angeles, Frank McCourt met in New York with league representatives where they vetoed TV deal with Fox, throwing the beleaguered owner into angry response.
The deal, which was reportedly a 17-year deal with more than $3 billion was said by McCourt to have the ability to infuse $300 million in upfront equity straight into the club, thus giving one of baseballâs most historic brands much needed stability after a divorce and attendance woes have torn it apart.
"Nobody handed the Dodgers to me and nobody's going to take it away,'' McCourt said at an evening press conference. "I'm not going anywhere. I'm here to continue to run this club.'' The Dodgers owner added that vetoing the TV deal with Fox was "fundamentally wrong."
McCourt then lashed out at Commissioner Selig who was not in attendance, according to some, due to possible legal concerns should McCourt look to sue.
âThe commissioner who was not present at the meetingâŠapparently there was a call from him afterwards where he once again vetoed the dealâŠ.and I am very disappointed!â McCourt said. âBaseball is our national past time, itâs Americaâs game. America is about rights, value and what the commissioner has done is Un-American.â
After McCourt addressed the media, Rob Manfred, Major League Baseballâs Executive Vice President of Labor Relations, issued statement today regarding the matter:
âIt is unfortunate that Mr. McCourt felt it necessary to publicize the content of a private meeting. It is even more unfortunate that Mr. McCourtâs public recitation was not accurate. Most fundamental, Commissioner Selig did not âvetoâ a proposed transaction. Rather, Mr. McCourt was clearly told that the Commissioner would make no decision on any transaction until after his investigation into the Club and its finances is complete so that he can properly evaluate all of the facts and circumstances.
âEqually important, there has been no seizure of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Mr. Scheiffer has been appointed as a monitor, and a multi-page written directive from the Commissioner describing his role has been provided to Mr. McCourt. In our meeting, no one from the Dodgers asked a single, specific question about the terms of the document setting forth the monitorâs role.
âFinally, Mr. McCourt is well aware of the basis of Baseballâs investigation and has been provided an eight-page document describing the issues of concern to Major League Baseball.â
The proposed Dodgers television deal is not the first to be rejected by MLB. In early December of 2009, then Texas Rangers owner Tom Hicks began trying to get Fox Sports to engage in a television contract extension through Fox Sports Southwest. But, the league put the brakes on the deal as Hicks was trying to get Fox Sports to do the deal with a considerable amount of the TV deal seeing a large amount of upfront money tied to it. The key difference between Hicks and McCourt is that Hicks, through parent company Hicks Sports Group, was in default.
McCourt purchased the Dodgers for $430 million in 2004. According to court documents, by Sept of 2010 the club was $433 million in debt.
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