Selig gives Ricketts full support in Wrigley visit
Commissioner not ready to commit to '14 ASG, discusses Irene
CHICAGO -- Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig on Wednesday said playing the 2014 All-Star Game at Wrigley Field to celebrate the ballpark's 100th anniversary is "appealing," but he was not ready to commit to Chicago as the host for the event.
The 2012 All-Star Game will be played in Kansas City, and Selig pointed out MLB has yet to reveal where the 2013 game will be held.
"I haven't even announced '13 yet, so let me announce '13 and then we'll go on from there," Selig said. "When I first took over in 1992, you had to beg cities to take the All-Star Game. ... Now they're lined up and everybody's fighting for them."
Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts has talked to Selig about the possibility of having Wrigley Field host the game for the first time since 1990.
Ricketts, whose family purchased the Cubs in October 2009, is beginning his search for a new general manager after dismissing Jim Hendry last Friday. Selig has had conversations with Ricketts about the process.
"He's young, aggressive, [comes from] a great family," Selig said of the Ricketts family. "People always said to me, 'You know, the Cubs need a family owning this club and we need somebody we can identify with.' We all understand that winning covers up a multitude of sins, someone taught me. I lived through all that myself, so I'm well aware of that.
"I think Tom Ricketts and his family are off to an excellent start. They have a lot of work to do, they know they have a lot of work to do. He and I have discussed all of this. And as great a franchise as this is, and this is a great franchise -- and I don't say that because I'm here -- but there's no question, Wrigley Field is one of the few places I go where I still get a thrill when I drive up here. Maybe it's because of my own history."
Selig said he made his first trip to Wrigley Field in 1944 and joked that the ballpark and neighborhood looked the same. For Wrigley to host the All-Star Game, there is work to do.
"I hope Tom will get the support he needs from all sectors here to make that happen," Selig said. "This is a franchise that we need to be not only really competitive but economically viable. He's got his work cut out for him. Is he the right guy to do it? You bet. I'm very confident in that."
On other topics, Selig said he spent a lot of Wednesday talking to Katy Feeney, senior vice president of club relations and scheduling, regarding contingency plans for Hurricane Irene. The Reds and Marlins played a doubleheader on Wednesday because of the advancing storm.
"The weather reports are all different," Selig said. "We'll see what path it takes. We are trying to make as many contingency plans as we can."
As for expanding the playoff system, Selig said he has received good feedback about the possibility and many more positive responses than he got in 1993, when he first proposed it. Nothing has been finalized, he said.
The Cubs were one of the teams who went over slot in signing their selections from the June First-Year Player Draft. Selig would like to see that controlled and an international draft added.
"We need an international draft and we need a slotting system, and there's no question about that in my mind," he said. "It's all part of the [collective bargaining agreement], but I believe we need that and it's very important."
As far as the economics of the game, Selig said attendance so far is ahead of last year at this point in time, which is "amazing." The problem hasn't been people not going to games, but the weather. So far, MLB has lost 32 dates because of inclement weather, which is more than all of last season.
"I told the owners last week that given the economy and given where things are and people struggling, baseball is amazing," he said. "We're drawing huge amounts of people. I feel really good about where we are."
One thing that will not change is moving playoff games to a neutral warm-weather site.
"Your club fights for years to get in, and then you're lucky enough to get into the World Series," Selig said of a possible scenario. "Can you imagine explaining to Cubs fans why you've taken a World Series to somewhere else?"
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter@CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.