Selig: No timetable on new labor agreement
Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig said discussions on a new collective bargaining agreement have been very constructive, and he sees no reason to set a timetable for getting a deal done.
''I hope we'll continue on that path,'' Selig said of the positive talks Monday night before Game 2 of the NL championship series.
MLB's agreement with the player's union expires on Dec. 11.
Selig said the present discussions have been far different from labor battles in previous decades. The most recent labor peace began when the sides came to an agreement after the cancellation of the end of the 1994 season.
''The sport, I've often said, was stuck in neutral for 25 years. And that's one of the reasons. It was brutal. It was really brutal. Every two or three years we went back to this,'' Selig said. ''The fans got tired of all that, got tired of hearing about it. And I don't blame them. So, 16 years of labor peace has really, really helped us.''
Selig said he has told MLB executive vice president Rob Manfred and union head Michael Weiner not to set arbitrary time limits to try and finish a deal.
''Just keep working, make progress, continue to make progress, and I think things will work out well,'' the commissioner said.
Both the NFL and NBA have been in contentious labor disputes this year. NFL owners locked out their players for more than four months before coming to a new 10-year deal in July. NBA owners locked out their players on July 1 and the league has canceled the preseason and, on Monday night, cut the first two weeks of the regular season.
Selig said just because there hasn't been a lot of public discussion, doesn't mean that things haven't been progressing.
''Both sides are very constructive and have work to do and understand that trying this in the media is not a good thing,'' the commissioner said. ''That was the problem in the '90s. Every day you spent the first half of the day either mad at some reporter for something he wrote or who leaked it to who.''
''We're past all that now,'' he added.
Selig also favors expanding the playoffs to 10 teams from eight, but said it may be too optimistic to implement the change next season. He also believes baseball can keep postseason games from stretching into November.
''It depends on how we start the season and how we do things,'' Selig said. ''That certainly is not a given.''
Selig also addressed a number of topics regarding different teams:
- The commissioner said his meeting with prospective Astros owner Jim Crane last week in Milwaukee went well. The Houston businessman's $680 million deal to purchase the club was announced in May. There is a Nov. 30 deadline between Crane and current owner Drayton McLane to transfer ownership of the club.
- Selig said he has no concerns about the Mets financial woes or their ability to repay a loan from MLB. Last month, the team said the sale of a stake of the club to hedge fund manager David Einhorn for $200 million has fallen through. The commissioner said he's talked to Mets owner Fred Wilpon and that there's been no discussion of a date to repay the loan. ''The loan will be paid back, no question about that,'' Selig said.
- The commissioner said he will testify in the Dodgers bankruptcy proceedings if asked by a Delaware judge. Selig said they've done very well in court so far in a hostile legal battle with Dodgers owner Frank McCourt. ''If a judge tells me to be in Wilmington, Delaware, then that's where I'll be,'' Selig said. ''You bet.''