Bud Selig refused to commit Thursdayon whether Major League Baseball will go forward with holding its 2011 All-Star Game in Phoenix. But he sounded like a man preparing his defense of the status quo.
At the conclusion of the owners' meetings at Major League Baseball's Manhattan headquarters, Selig held a news conference in which - asked about the scheduled All-Star Game vis-à-vis Arizona's controversial new immigration law - the commissioner spoke at length about his industry's history of diversity enhancement.
Yet Selig never quite answered the question. "We're a social institution," he said. "We have enormous social responsibilities . . . We have done everything we should do. We've been privileged to do it. And we'll continue to do it."
The commissioner mentioned the MLB's high grades from Richard Lapchick, the well-known watchdog of diversity in sports management. He reminded the people in attendance that baseball first came up with the rule that at least one minority candidate must be interviewed for every major job opening. He touted the award he received from the Jackie Robinson Foundation.
On April 30, the Players Association came out against the Arizona law, which allows law-enforcement officials, given just cause, to ask people for their immigration paperwork.
In other news:
Selig said that baseball will look into allegations that the Phillies stole signs from the Rockies at Coors Field, although The New York Times reported that initial investigations didn't reveal sufficient evidence. Nevertheless, Selig didn't appear particularly concerned, saying, "Stealing signs has been around for 100 years."
Selig said that attendance overall is down about 2 percent. Presented specifically with the Mets' steep drop, the largest in baseball, Selig noted their decent record and said, "Let's not jump to conclusions."
The Texas Rangers' sale, which has been particularly ugly, "needs to be completed as expeditiously as possible," Selig said. "I'm concerned about the length of time it's taken. I'm concerned for the franchise. For their fans."