Owners extend Selig's reign to '06

Wednesday, November 28, 2001

ROSEMONT, Ill. -- Commissioner Bud Selig's term was extended Tuesday through December 2006, a unanimous vote of confidence by baseball owners at a time when the game faces economic and labor problems.

The owners took no action on contraction -- the proposed elimination of two teams before the start of next season.

The vote to extend Selig's term reflected the support he enjoys from owners, many of whom are indebted to him for his past assistance with team problems. He was elected to a five-year term in July 1998.

Also on Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee announced it will hold a hearing next week on baseball's antitrust exemption.

Selig, union head Donald Fehr and Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura are among the possible witnesses at the Dec. 6 session in Washington.

Following the decision by baseball owners to eliminate two teams, legislation was introduced to strip baseball of its exemption from antitrust laws, granted by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1922.

That legislation has enabled baseball owners to prevent franchise moves, and no team has relocated since the expansion Washington Senators became the Texas Rangers after the 1971 season.

Committee spokeswoman Dena Graziano said the witness list will not be finalized until later this week.

When owners voted Nov. 6 to eliminate two teams, they didn't select them. While the Minnesota Twins and Montreal Expos are the most likely candidates, according to many owners, contraction ground to a halt 10 days after the vote when a Minnesota judge issued a temporary injunction that forced the Twins to fulfill their lease next season at the Metrodome.

Selig did not want to ask owners to make any decisions on contraction at Tuesday's meeting because the injunction was in place, a high-ranking baseball official said Monday on the condition he not be identified.

The Twins and baseball have asked the Minnesota Supreme Court for a speedy review of their request to lift the injunction, requesting a hearing no later than Dec. 7. The Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, which operates the Metrodome, must file its response by today.

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