Bud Selig: A's future up to owner

Updated: May 18, 2012, 7:38 AM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Baseball commissioner Bud Selig says it's up to Oakland owner Lew Wolff to decide whether to consider additional sites for a new ballpark for the Athletics, leaving open the possibility of a move outside the Bay Area.

Speaking Thursday after a quarterly owners' meeting, Selig said there's no timetable for resolving Oakland's dispute with the San Francisco Giants. The Giants are preventing the A's from building a ballpark in San Jose, which is part of the Giants' territory.

Baseball has been reluctant to approve relocations. When the Montreal Expos became the Washington Nationals after the 2004 season, it was the first shift since the expansion Washington Senators transformed into the Texas Rangers in 1972.

Asked whether the A's would consider other relocation possibilities, Selig responded: "You'd have to ask Lew Wolff. That's really his decision to make."

Twenty-three teams have opened ballparks since 1989, and the A's and Tampa Bay are the only two teams still seeking new stadiums. Wolff would be allowed to consider other sites within the A's territory -- such as downtown Oakland -- but approval from MLB would be needed for a move outside the territory.

"It depends where they'd be. They could be all over the world, for that matter," Selig said. "They need approval. We have to go through an approval process. It just depends on where they're moving to."

Selig established a committee to examine the situation in March 2009 but appears reluctant to impose a decision on either team.

Wolff, a California real estate developer, has said he does not plan to sell the team and has no regrets in buying the franchise despite the rundown Oakland Coliseum.

"Lew continues to be committed to moving to San Jose, following the procedures and guidelines of the commissioner and the committee," team spokesman Ken Pries said. "The focus has not changed in keeping the team in the Bay Area, and specifically San Jose. The focus is San Jose, No. 1, and keeping the team in the Bay Area."

Selig said last month he hoped the A's and Giants would resolve the matter themselves, but there's no indication that will happen.

"Both clubs yesterday made a presentation to the executive council, but there's nothing new other than that," Selig said.

He added that he can't provide a timetable and responded "no" when asked whether some kind of decision was approaching.

With the Houston Astros switching to the American League next year, MLB also is working on a new schedule format that provides season-long interleague play. Selig said it's possible baseball could retain six interleague games between rivals, such as the New York Yankees and Mets, the Chicago Cubs and White Sox, the A's and the Giants, and the Los Angeles Dodgers and Angels.

"The fans like it," Selig said. "When your fans like something, you have to be responsive to that and sensitive to it."

Baseball hopes to complete its new collective bargaining agreement with players within a few weeks. A memorandum of understanding on the five-year deal was signed Nov. 22.

Rob Manfred, MLB's executive vice president of labor relations, also gave MLB's first explanation for last week's decision to fire Shyam Das, the arbitrator who in February overturned a 50-game suspension for NL MVP Ryan Braun following a positive drug test. Braun's lawyers argued his urine sample wasn't handled as specified in baseball's drug agreement.

"Shyam served for 13 years. That's a very long time," Manfred said. "He's a very high-quality arbitrator. We made a decision to exercise our contractual right to make a change. There's nothing more to that."

Management and the union are to talk next week about selecting a new arbitrator, who would hear the union's grievance to overturn a 100-game suspension for Giants reliever Guillermo Mota.

Mark Walter and Stan Kasten, the Dodgers' new chairman and president, attended their first owners' meeting since buying the team from Frank McCourt on May 1 in a record $2 billion deal. Owners approved a six-year extension of the major league constitution and Baseball Advanced Media, the sport's Internet division.


Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press

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