Selig: Pirates' rebirth a positive step for baseball
Pirates owner Bob Nutting was content to stay out of the spotlight Tuesday when the farewell tour for outgoing MLB commissioner Bud Selig rolled into PNC Park.
Selig, whose term expires in January, chatted for 20 minutes with reporters before heading to a private suite to watch the Pirates play the Los Angeles Dodgers. Nutting looked on quietly, standing along a wall toward the back of the room.
Would Nutting, who will have some say in who replaces Selig, be interested in the commissioner's chair? Nutting smiled at the suggestion.
“I think the greatest honor and best job in any sport in America would be the baseball commissioner's job,” said Nutting, who became the Pirates' principal owner in 2007. “There are so many more people than me who are truly qualified for it. Right now, my heart is in Pittsburgh with the Pirates. We've made so much progress since I've stepped in. I'm absolutely committed to stay here and see this through. This is where I want to be.”
In May, Nutting was named to the seven-man committee that will select the next commissioner.
The panel is chaired by St. Louis Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt. It includes owners Dick Monfort (Colorado Rockies), David Montgomery (Philadelphia Phillies), Arte Moreno (Los Angeles Angels), Jerry Reinsdorf (Chicago White Sox) and Jim Pohlad (Minnesota Twins).
“I think it's a sign that Bob is gaining influence in the industry,” Pirates president Frank Coonelly said. “For us in Pittsburgh, that's a good thing.”
Selig invited Nutting to join the group. Selig sees the Pirates' success as proof that changes to the game's economics — particularly revenue sharing — that happened during his tenure have worked.
“The ability to provide hope and faith in as many places as possible is nowhere more dramatic than it is in Pittsburgh,” Selig said. “This is maybe as dramatic evidence as anything of how this sport has changed and how we've solved our problems.
“Nothing is perfect, but we've come a long way.”
Plenty of challenges await the next commissioner. The game will need a new collective bargaining agreement in two years. Rapidly escalating local TV deals could threaten competitive balance. Baseball needs to improve how it uncovers talent and how it markets itself outside the United States.
“The sport is as good as it's ever been, by far,” Selig said. “So the idea is to keep that going. That's not as easy as it sounds.”
Even a small group of owners, such as this succession committee, has competing interests. Nutting brings a small-market flavor to the group. In that sense, he's a standard-bearer for the little guys in the game.
“It's a very important responsibility,” Nutting said. “It's critical that baseball continues to improve the competitive balance and recognize the challenges that small-market teams have.
“We have never used resources as an excuse in Pittsburgh. But it is a real challenge as we move forward — as we look at new digital properties, as we look at (media) rights, as we look at other changes in the game — that we understand what's important for markets like Pittsburgh.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.