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Selig Probably Will Get Extension

Owners are expected to vote for another term later this month for 70-year-old commissioner.

August 04, 2004|Ross Newhan | Times Staff Writer

Major League Baseball owners are expected to discuss and, probably, extend the contract of Commissioner Bud Selig during their quarterly meeting in Philadelphia on Aug. 17-18, The Times learned Tuesday.

Selig, who turned 70 on Friday, did not return a call to his Milwaukee office, but a high-ranking official confirmed that "a number of clubs think it's appropriate to talk about an extension and likely take action. The clubs are very pleased with the industry's direction and this is a development that comes directly from the clubs.

"The situation could change, I assume, but at this point I'd be surprised if something doesn't happen during the meetings."

According to sources, the agenda calls for an "executive session" in which each club is allowed only two representatives and during which an extension is expected to be discussed and approved. Selig's current five-year contract expires Dec. 31, 2006, a juncture at which the current labor agreement with the players union and national TV contract will also be up for renewal.

"The clubs consider it a critical period and think continuity in leadership is equally critical," the high-ranking official said. "Bud is a youthful 70. I never believed him when he talked about retiring when this contract expires."

It was at a meeting of Associated Press sports editors in April 2003 that Selig said he would not seek an extension when his current contract expires.

He has been less emphatic recently, however, and is currently riding the high of improved TV ratings, a record attendance pace and increased parity, with almost two-thirds of the 30 clubs still in playoff contention.

The Major League Agreement, which is baseball's constitution, states that "any re-election shall be considered ... not less than six months nor more than 15 months prior to the expiration of any term." Selig is not within the 15-month time frame, but that can be waived, the high-ranking official said. The vote requires three-fourths approval, but Selig probably would get unanimous support. It is believed that an extension would span two or three years, sources speculated.

Selig has served 12 years in an interim and full-time capacity, longer than any of the previous eight commissioners. The tenure has spanned the most innovative period in baseball history, including realignment, expanded playoffs, increased revenue sharing and the introduction of interleague play and the three-division format.

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