Commissioner Bud Selig spoke with Yankees' co-chairman Hal Steinbrenner and team president Randy Levine, two industry sources told Newsday yesterday, to remind them of his gag order on speaking publicly about labor issues.
Steinbrenner questioned baseball revenue sharing and luxury-tax programs, which he said Monday will cost the Yankees about $130 million.
"We've got to do a little something about that, and I know Bud [Selig] wants to correct it in some way," Steinbrenner said Monday. "Obviously, we're very much allies with the Red Sox and the Mets, the Dodgers, the Cubs, whoever in that area.
"At some point, if you don't want to worry about teams in minor markets, don't put teams in minor markets, or don't leave teams in minor markets if they're truly minor. Socialism, communism, whatever you want to call it, is never the answer."
Asked Tuesday if Selig had reached out to him, Steinbrenner became defensive, invoking Red Sox owner John Henry, previously fined for criticizing baseball's revenue- sharing system.
"What, you think I'm the only one who ever said anything?" Steinbrenner said. "He fined John Henry, the owner of the Red Sox, for saying something at one point. The bottom line is I'm not the only one. Randy [Levine] has said some things. The Rangers' [Chuck Greenberg] was saying some things. Randy said some things back. John Henry . . . has made it clear before. It's not the American way, that's all. I think at some point, if you want a problem with really bad minor-market teams, don't leave teams with minor markets."