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Selig: 'Never say never' about changing DH rule

Commissioner touches on several topics, including A-Rod's appeal hearing

ST. LOUIS -- When the World Series moved from Boston's Fenway Park to Busch Stadium, the rules changed just like they have every year since the American League adopted the designated hitter rule in 1972. So it's probably not a surprise that Commissioner Bud Selig was asked before Game 3 on Saturday night whether he could foresee a day when all teams would use the DH or none would.

"I'm the only one left who voted in 1972 for the designated hitter," the Commissioner said during an impromptu news conference after presenting Cardinals outfielder Carlos Beltran with the 2013 Roberto Clemente Award. "So here we are now, 41 years later. And I often worry about that. But my friend [Phillies chairman] Bill Giles once said to me, 'You know, I like the controversy between the leagues. I think it's good.' Having said that, I did say three or four years ago that I had strong feelings on [expanded] instant replay. And, like everything else in life, you make adjustments and I now have somewhat different feelings.

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"So I'm never going to say never to anything. But at the moment is there anything going on? No. If somebody has something to say, I'm glad to listen."

Selig touched on a number of topics during a brief session with reporters, including efforts of the Athletics and Rays to get new stadiums, the Alex Rodriguez appeal hearing, baseball's continuing effort to increase minority participation in the sport and the state of the game.

A judge, ruling on a lawsuit filed by San Jose against Major League Baseball, recently upheld MLB's right to determine when and where franchises may relocate, but left open the question of whether the city of San Jose may sue for damages. Selig said, however, that this doesn't impact the timetable for a resolution.

"I wouldn't say so. We were very pleased with the decision, obviously. But nothing has changed," Selig said. "We're working on details. Look, I know everybody says it's taking so long. But the more our group has gotten into it, the more complex it is. If people really understood all the complexities, they would understand. But it's a situation that needs to be dealt with."

Selig was asked if the complexity was the San Francisco Giants' claim that they have territorial rights to San Jose.

"The complexities are all the parties," Selig replied.

Selig added that he can't say what the next step for either the Oakland or Tampa Bay situation will be, but repeated that it is critical that both franchises have new stadiums.

"[Tampa Bay] is a situation that needs correction," Selig said. "There's no other way to put it. It's a marvelous organization, competitive every year. And to be last in attendance, you have to be concerned. There's nothing startlingly new about that. We just need to solve that problem. [Owner Stu Sternberg] and I are going to talk some more. You've got to let me get through the World Series. The last three or four weeks have been tough -- playoffs, World Series. And a lot of other things have been going on."

One of the other things that's been going on is A-Rod's appeal of his 211-game suspension, a process that has included his lawyers criticizing baseball's methodology in gathering evidence.

"I'm very comfortable with that," Selig said. "I'm not a lawyer. But our people -- and I know it's now been written over and over again -- but I'm very comfortable with what they did and how they did it. I've been in baseball 50 years now. I thought I'd seen everything. Apparently, I hadn't."

And Selig stressed once more how happy he is with the industry's overall health.

"I'm very pleased," Selig said. "The last six years have been the best years in our history. Our gross revenues have exploded. Every criteria, every barometer that one wants to use is up. The sport has never been more popular. I just read a projection by Bloomberg on asset values that makes my 30 owners very, very happy. That's a manifestation of the popularity of the sport, no matter how you want to look at it.

"Look, there will always be problems when you're the Commissioner. Whether it's Tampa or San Francisco-Oakland. Believe me, I got used to that. And even the situation in New York [with the Rodriguez hearing] is not one that you dream about. But the fact is that, overall, the sport is doing wonderfully well."

Paul Hagen is a reporter for

Boston Red Sox, St. Louis Cardinals