La Velle Neal III: My take on Selig's take

  • Article by: BY LA VELLE E. NEAL III
  • Updated: July 17, 2011 - 10:01 AM

Commissioner Bud Selig touched on many hot topics during his state-of-the-game news conference last week.

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Bud Selig

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One benefit of being at the All-Star Game is the chance to feel the pulse of Major League Baseball Commissioner Bug Selig on the state of the game.

Selig revealed his thoughts last week during a town hall-style chat with fans, then during an annual meeting with the Baseball Writers Association of America. Here are Selig's thoughts on a few issues, followed by my reaction.

• • •

On possible realignment: "Would I go to 15 and 15 [teams in each league]? I don't know. It would depend on how everything else broke out and what we were trying to do."

My take: A recent report has Arizona willing to consider moving to the AL if asked. I think the Diamondbacks play a little like an AL team, so they would be a good fit.

But anything that would force interleague play in September -- where AL teams would lose the DH if they are on the road -- is terrible in a pennant race situation. I hope that's why Selig isn't behind the movement.

• • •

On Derek Jeter skipping the All-Star Game to rest a sore calf: "I have no problem with Derek Jeter. I've known him for 15 years. He's already done the right thing. I completely understand the situation."

My take: Jeter has been a class act throughout his career, and it baffles me why Twins fans boo him when the Yankees come to town.

But Tigers ace Justin Verlander couldn't pitch and still appeared. Jeter was the people's choice at shortstop and should have shown up, even if he couldn't play. MLB can send the stretch limo to pick him up and drop him off on the tarmac. Is that rough travel?

Dick Allen, my favorite player growing up, made the All-Star team in 1973 but couldn't play because of an injury. He still showed up and was announced. I thought that was cool.

• • •

On Detroit manager Jim Leyland's contention that there's been more tension lately between managers and umpires: "Jim is right in some sense. We need to remove some of that tension."

My take: Unless MLB can come down hard on umpires as well as managers, I don't know if umpire-manager dust-ups will ever go away. Screw-ups will be made, and someone is going to get upset.

I haven't seen anything recently that compares to what Tommy Lasorda, Billy Martin, Earl Weaver and Lou Piniella did during their managing careers. Some managers and umpires never will get along. If you put Ron Gardenhire and Hunter Wendelstedt together on Kiss Cam, it's going to become Fist Cam.

• • •

On ballpark safety issues after the death of a Rangers fan last week: "I think everybody is reviewing parts of their ballparks where something like this could happen. Maybe there's some things that they can or can't do."

My take: I sure hope St. Louis does. The railings at Busch Stadium are so low it's frightening. A Twins fan there during interleague play in 2009 fell about 15 feet from one deck to a lower concourse -- during the national anthem.

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