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Selig: The "Manny Rule" Needs To Be Changed

Greetings from the press box at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, where the security lines for the magnetometers outside the stadium are long, owing to the presence tonight of President Barack Obama to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. As my bag was searched, I broke out my standard bag-check line -- "I hope you're not searching for worn-out cliches and run-on sentences, because I'll be honest: there's a lot of them in there" -- and nobody even smiled.

Anyway, game time is about four hours away, as I begin this post. I have dutifully transcribed the entirety of Bud Selig's Q-and-A session with Baseball Writers' Association of America members today, and will post below the choice bits -- or rather, the choice bits that do not involve the Nationals. For Nats-related Selig answers, you'll have to go to Nationals Journal.

Selig rarely breaks new ground in these sessions, but he made one significant comment today regarding the rules governing players who are serving drug-related suspensions. Last month, as Dodgers superstar Manny Ramirez neared the end of his 50-game suspension, he was allowed to play in some minor league games (much as a player does on an injury rehabilitation assignment) so that he could ease himself into playing shape in advance of his return to the Dodgers' lineup, which came on July 3.

According to Selig, that rule needs to be changed, and he implied that it will be brought up when the next collective bargaining agreement is negotiated.

"The logic [behind it] was okay," Selig said. "[When] guys get hurt, they can go out on rehab. But I think that's something we need to really change in the next labor negotiation.... You [should] sit out 50 games, and then you do what have to do to get ready."

More from Selig's session after the jump:

*On allegations by some agents that owners have colluded to keep salaries down: "That's fine. They're entitled to their opinion. Given the world we live in, and what's happened [to the economy] in the last 18 months... I can't even fathom that anybody can think that. Player compensation hasn't gone down. We have many clubs struggling. And even those clubs that have done remarkably well are very aggressive in their marketing and discounting. And I want to say: good for them.

"But you know, some of us - let me be as blunt as can be - have to live in the real world, not in some make-believe, little scenario that doesn't exist. And I mean that very, very sincerely... So given the fact the average major league player [earns $3.2 million], I rest my case. They can say whatever they want to say. I wouldn't even waste my time reacting to that."

*On Obama's participation: "I wrote him a letter inviting him to the game -- with a fair number of personal asides in it. What is so wonderful is that they answered within 18 [or] 24 hours. And happy, very happy to come. And you've seen his schedule the last week or so.... It means a great deal to all of us, and it means a great deal to the sport."

*On the sport's economic health during the recession: "I think we're having a remarkable season, in many ways... Attendance is down about five percent [actually 5.9], which I think is amazing. Everyone I talk to in American industry is stunned by that. If you [factor in] the two New York ballparks' [smaller] capacity, you're probably down 3.8 to 4 percent.... The popularity of this sport comes through in a more meaningful way this year than I maybe have ever seen it, including the year [2007] we just missed 80 million [in total attendance]."

*On the dwindling number of newspapers that are covering the All-Star Game, and baseball in general: "I am concerned. Ive been concerned for a long time and my concerns have been now heightened.... Since we play 162 games [over] 181 days, the coverage every day is terribly important. There is no quesiton [coverage by daily newspapers] has contributed to the popularity of our sport. I don't think people quite understand how significant it is. And I'm afraid - and I say this with significant trepidation - the worst is yet to come. This economy is is clearly not responding. I worry about its affect on this game."

By Dave Sheinin  |  July 14, 2009; 4:52 PM ET
 
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Comments

Wait a minute. Is that circus music I hear? Just faint...off in the distance...

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 15, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

On another note, interesting, if older, piece in light of Selig's comments on newspapers:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123906424665995337.html

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 15, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

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