MLB commissioner Bud Selig dropped by the John Feinstein Show to answer some rapid-fire questions regarding various issues, starting with Oakland Coliseum, where the Athletics and Raiders play.
“It’s a pit,” Selig said. “It reminds me of old County Stadium and Shea Stadium. We need to deal with that. I’ve had a committee working on it for two or three years, and there’s no question we’re going to have to solve that problem.”
But hasn’t the committee been working on it for a long time? What’s the hold-up?
“We have, John, but I’ll tell you it’s far more complex,” Selig said. “Look, you have one team that wants to move and the other team doesn’t want them to move, and it’s a very complicated situation. Before I leave, I’m satisfied we’ll work out something.”
The Athletics, by virtue of winning the AL West, will host postseason games at its “pit.”
“I’m not happy about it,” Selig said. “It’s an unfortunate mess. I wish there was an easy solution, but in truth, there is not an easy solution.”
While Selig will have to stomach Oakland Coliseum in the postseason, he won’t have to stomach Alex Rodriguez, as the Yankees are all but out of postseason contention.
“I’m not going to comment on Alex,” Selig said. “A lot of people have asked me that question and that’s a fair question and a tough question – but certainly one worthwhile. But I’m satisfied that I’m going to let circumstances play out here.”
Rodriguez, of course, is appealing his suspension for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal.
Selig also discussed MLB’s two Florida teams, the Marlins and Rays, who are struggling for different reasons. The Marlins, at 58-100, are the worst team in the National League – this after trading away much of their top talent last year.
“They’ve had difficulty down there,” Selig said. “They’ve played better lately. Everybody tells me they have a good farm system. I know people were very critical (of the trade), but I’m a disciple of Branch Rickey, and Branch Rickey always said, ‘Don’t judge any trade for three to five years.’ Everyone tells me the Marlins made quite a good trade. It’s a very tough situation.”
The Rays (88-69), meanwhile, have made the playoffs three of the last five years – and are in good position to make it four out of six – but their attendance has been awful. In fact, it’s the second-worst in baseball this season.
“That’s just disgraceful,” Selig said. “I don’t know how much blunter I can be than that.”
Feinstein also asked Selig who the true home-run champion is. Henry Aaron or Barry Bonds?
“Henry Aaron and I, as you know, have been extremely close friends for 58 years now; it’s hard to believe,” Selig said. “I believe he’s the greatest player of my generation. I saw him – I wish everybody could have seen him in the ’50s when he was young and not trying to pull everything. He was unbelievable to watch. Unbelievable. He’s a man of class, a man of dignity. He’s represented our sport beautifully, and his carer is legendary. I’m not going to say any more on that. You can figure out from my answer, I’m sure.”