Magazine article Insight on the News

Will Baseball Strike out before Spring? MLB Commissioner Bud Selig Has Plenty on His Agenda for 2002 and beyond. (Sports)

Magazine article Insight on the News

Will Baseball Strike out before Spring? MLB Commissioner Bud Selig Has Plenty on His Agenda for 2002 and beyond. (Sports)

Article excerpt

So you think Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig had a tough year in 2001? After all, his plan to eliminate two teams before the start of the 2002 season resulted in a grilling on Capitol Hill and a mountain of criticism, lawsuits and grievances rarely seen for an already-embattled sport.

But Selig's to-do list for 2002, largely carried over from 2001, is even more daunting. Among his more-immediate tasks:

* Convince Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly the sale of the Boston Red Sox was on the level; help find a new owner for the Florida Marlins.

* Complete his plan to eliminate two teams -- most likely Montreal and Minnesota -- and organize a dispersal draft; resolve the union grievance against the plan and a Minneapolis injunction holding the Twins to the Metrodome for 2002; address the fate of the Expos if contraction doesn't happen this year.

* Make some significant progress on a new labor deal with the players that will stem the game's massive fiscal and competitive imbalance.

How Selig, freshly minted with a three-year contract extension, handles himself in the next four to six weeks will speak volumes on baseball's future.

The Senate Judiciary Committee, meanwhile, is eyeing a hearing for late January or early February on a bill to roll back the game's antitrust exemption. If Selig can muster a better performance than his shaky appearance before the House Judiciary Committee on Dec. 6, 2001, the federal scrutiny on baseball likely will ebb.

Despite the decidedly downbeat off-season, fans have a few reasons to be optimistic. …

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