View Full Version : Selig on contraction, minority hiring: To be continued

11-05-2001, 01:57 PM
By Jayson Stark
PHOENIX -- The commissioner of baseball sat in a chair Sunday, just up the tunnel from where Game 7 of the World Series was about to be played. The subject was contraction -- a subject Bud Selig said he didn't want to talk about anymore -- until the World Series fades into the rear-view mirror.

Asked to characterize the manner in which he thought contraction would be discussed at Tuesday's owners' meetings in Chicago, Selig replied: "I'm not going to characterize it in any way. I've said all I'm going to say on the subject until Tuesday."

It still is unclear whether owners will vote on contracting two teams -- the Expos and Twins are the ones most believe will be on the chopping bock -- at these meetings. But there now are indications the meetings could stretch to a second day, if discussion on the contraction issue grows unwieldy. And you can bet on that.

Selig said that after reading what has been written about contraction around the country, he was "impressed with the knowledge" that the media now has on the subject.

"But actually," Selig said, "to be quite candid with you, I'm surprised at the lack of contraction stories, except in the cities of the alleged candidates."

When it was observed that there happened to be a World Series going on, Selig agreed that there were "a myriad of reasons." But he rejected any notions that talk about contraction -- including his own during this World Series -- had already gotten in the way of the Fall Classic.

"I hope not," Selig said. "I don't think it has."

But before you knew it, Selig had segued into a discussion of his own pain after the Braves left Milwaukee in 1965, and how that left him sensitive to the pain of current cities when they heard reports their own team might be contracted.

"These issues are painful, very painful," Selig said. "No question about it. My sensitivity to these matters is always shaped by my own personal experience. But as commissioner, there's always a responsibility to deal with our problems. So I'll deal with them, as commissioner. But it doesn't make my job any easier."

"But do I wish this stuff would go away?" Selig added, with a "man-I'm-working-too-hard" kind of sigh. "Yes, I do."

On that note, another problem Selig wishes would go away is the continued lack of minority hiring in baseball front offices and managers' offices.

In recent days, the Astros hired Jimy Williams as manager, and Texas hired John Hart as GM, with Dave Dombrowski's appointment as president in Detroit expected to be announced as soon as Monday.

None of those three, obviously, is a minority. And even though Selig conceded all three teams complied with his edict on interviewing minorities, he said, pointedly: "I'm not thrilled about it."

"Everyone followed the mandate, but I'm not very happy about it," he said. "And I'll have something to say about it Tuesday."

Selig said that by not hiring minorities in high-profile jobs, "clubs are short-changing themselves in many ways." So he hinted that he might push for tougher standards on hiring in the future -- the very-near future.

"We're going to have to get a little more aggressive on that," the commissioner vowed.

But this is just one of several conversations Selig clearly has filed under the category of, "To Be Continued."

duke of dorwood
11-05-2001, 02:46 PM
THis guy must have some guilt complex on the minority thing. A person will be a minority only as long as people like this use it as a crusade. And how many minority jobs are being cut by contraction?