Bud Selig: Replay system very good

Updated: May 3, 2014, 12:43 AM ET
By Adam Rubin | ESPNNewYork.com

DENVER -- Commissioner Bud Selig, who intends to retire when his contract ends in January 2015, made a farewell-tour stop Friday at Coors Field.

In a wide-ranging interview before the Colorado Rockies-New York Mets game, Selig suggested baseball has "never been more popular," despite detractors suggesting it is not as popular among younger generations.

"The last 10 years have by far been the greatest attended years ever," Selig said. "We're going to have labor peace for 21 years. And for those of you who have been around a lot, that is almost unbelievable. When I took over in 1992, the gross revenue ... was $1.2 billion. This year is will be well over $8 billion, $8.5 billion."

[+] EnlargeBud Selig
AP Photo/Jack DempseyDuring his farewell-tour stop at Coors Field on Friday, MLB commissioner Bud Selig spoke about baseball's popularity and how the implementation of replay has fared thus far.

Among the topics:

• Selig said MLB, which opened its 2014 season in Australia with the Los Angeles Dodgers facing the Arizona Diamondbacks, again will have an international presence next season.

"We'll play somewhere next year which I think will surprise people," Selig said. "We're working on a series of things now."

• The commissioner mostly steered clear of talk regarding the NBA controversy regarding Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling's alleged racist remarks.

"I'm not going to comment on that," Selig said. "I haven't commented all week. I don't like to comment on other sports. ... I'll let [NBA commissioner] Adam Silver, who is a very, very fine, very smart man, whom I have I talked to -- I'll let him do all the commenting."

Asked if MLB would be equipped to handle a similar situation, Selig alluded to one-time controversies involving Marge Schott and George Steinbrenner.

"I don't want to get into that, except we do have a history, without me going back into it, and our constitution is different than the other sports," Selig said.

• Although the commissioner keeps close tabs on the length of games, he does not think it is a problem.

"They're not getting longer," Selig said. "We're the same as last year. We're right at three hours. Actually, this year, we've had an interesting group of 2:30, 2:40, 2:45, which proves to me it can be done.

"People talk about the length of the game, and all sporting events, by the way, take much longer. But the fans are turning out in record numbers. When we do a lot of polling, we don't get that from a lot of our fans. However, having said all that, you bet I'm concerned. I monitor it on a weekly basis."

• Selig insisted the institution of replay is going well, despite at least one prominent "glitch" in a New York Yankees-Boston Red Sox game.

"For a new system, this has been remarkable," Selig said. "And they're getting it right. Other sports have had replay systems that are far from perfect. So I feel very good about it. Very good."

• Selig said he is concerned about reports of international smugglers potentially being involved in Cuban baseball players getting into the U.S. to play in the majors. Still, the commissioner added that MLB is largely powerless.

"You're getting into an international political situation," he said. "Commissioners have a lot of power, but they don't have it in international politics, I can assure you of that."

Referring to reports about Yasiel Puig's U.S. arrival, Selig added: "It was a tough story to read."

Asked if it the trafficking might be more prevalent than one instance, Selig added: "I don't know that. If I had to theorize today, I think the answer is yes. But I don't know that. It's a very difficult problem."

• The commissioner wants an international draft as part of the next labor agreement.

"I would hope it's done certainly during the next labor negotiation. Absolutely," Selig said. "The draft was meant to equalize things. It's done very well. And I think the international draft should be a part of that. You bet."

Adam Rubin has covered the Mets since 2003. He's a graduate of Mepham High School on Long Island and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined ESPNNewYork after spending 10 years at the New York Daily News.
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