Selig receives extension

Friday, August 20, 2004

PHILADELPHIA -- Baseball commissioner Bud Selig on Thursday received a contract extension through 2009, as owners praised his 12-year reign, but dissension surfaced among teams in the decision to launch a World Cup tournament.

Selig, who has presided over revolutionary changes in the most traditional of major U.S. sports, was given the three-year extension in a unanimous vote of the 30 teams. If he serves out the new term, he will have held the job for 19 years -- the second-longest tenure behind Kenesaw Mountain Landis, who became the first commissioner in 1920 and held the job until he died in 1944.

The 70-year-old Selig, whose family controls the Milwaukee Brewers, became acting commissioner in 1992 after leading the group that forced Fay Vincent's resignation. Selig was given a five-year term in July 1998, and three years later owners extended it through 2006.

"In September 1992, I told my wife when I got on off the plane, she asked how long it would be, and I said, 'Two to four months,'" Selig recalled. "It's got to be the longest two to four months in history."

In April 2003, he said his current term would be his last.

Selig could be commissioner-for-life if he wanted to, according to several owners. Colorado Rockies vice chairman Jerry McMorris said the group would have extended Selig's term for however long he desired.

The owners also gave their preliminary go-ahead for the launch of a World Cup tournament, which Selig finally admitted could not begin until 2006.

Bob DuPuy, baseball's chief operating officer, told owners that no decision had been made on where to move the Montreal Expos but that the relocation committee understood it was under pressure to make a decision.

Washington and Northern Virginia remain the leading candidates to land the franchise for next season. Officials plan to meet government officials from those areas along with Las Vegas and Norfolk, Va.

Owners also approved the start of a baseball television network, which hopes to reach the air in July or October 2005.

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