Here are some excerpts from Selig’s news conference, which also included Joe Torre for a time.
Replay: Selig said expanded instant replay has worked well in the first half of its first season, though the process could use some “tweaking.” Torre, Major League Baseball’s operations chief, said there will be no major change to speed up the process like throwing a flag, as NFL coaches do.
“In certain cities you may have a whole laundry bag coming out on the field,” he said.
Torre said they'll be looking to “find a way that's comfortable and not as time-consuming” for managers, but said the average time between challenge and results is less than three minutes.
Collision rule: Torre said the catchers collision rule, which was instituted on an “experimental” basis, will not be eliminated.
“It’s a matter of coming up with a formula, and a lot of it’s based right now on judgment,” Torre said. “What we’re telling umpires now and managers … if it’s felt the baserunner was impeded, as opposed to avoiding the tag going around the catchers, that you’re always going to allow. But if a baserunner is thinking he wants to slide and go in toward the plate, and he’s not able to do that, it would be a block.”
Torre said the most confusion comes when catchers wait for the play to develop and the throw takes them into the line of the baserunner.
“That’s allowed, because you can’t do too much about that,” he said. “It’s not going to be eliminated.
Torre said they have not had “any devastating collisions, which is really what it was based on to begin with.”
Indians mascot: In light of increased opposition to the name of the Washington Redskins, the Cleveland Indians are under the gun as to what to do with their Chief Wahoo logo, which some find offensive.
“I’ve never had anybody talk to me raising an issue,” Selig said, adding the Indians have had polls and studies that indicate it’s not a problem.
Drug testing: Selig is satisfied with the drug testing in baseball, and believes it’s “the best program there is” in sports, pointing out baseball is the only sport that tests for human growth hormone.
Length of games: Selig said he gets updates every week on average games times, which he said are generally three hours, give or take a couple of minutes. But he would like to “accelerate the pace of the game,” with less dawdling from players fidgeting in the box or on the mound.
“I do think there are some rules that really need to be enforced,” he said. “I know players have habits and those habits are tough to break, but Henry Aaron reminded me last night that in 20-something years, once he got in the batter’s box, he never got out. That was it.”
Chewing tobacco: In light of Tony Gwynn’s death from oral cancer that Gwynn said was from his usage of chewing tobacco, some have called for banning its use in the major leagues, like it is already in the minors. Selig would like to eliminate it, but didn’t specifically call for a ban. Players union chief Tony Clark said usage has dropped significantly, and though the union doesn’t condone it, the hope is that education will lead to further reduction in usage by players.
“I understand individuals have a right to make their own decisions …” Selig said. “All we can do is communicate that and hope it’s successful.
Home Run Derby: Monday’s Home Run Derby dragged on, as usual. “Do I think there are things that can be tweaked? Yes I do,” he said. “But television wants a three-hour program, so there are a lot of complex difficulties.”
“How lucky can this sport be to have the icon of this generation turn out to be Derek Jeter,” Selig said, adding he told that to Jeter’s parents. “He had a great response” ‘I sure fooled you, didn’t I?’ But if he fooled me, he fooled everyone else.”
Montreal relocation: Selig said he was impressed by the crowds at the exhibition games in Montreal last spring and said it could be a possible site for relocation down the road.
“We have no hard or angry feelings about Montreal,” he said. “I thought that was marvelous, but they do have a lot of work to do. I wish them well and I think they would be an excellent candidate in the future.”