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Commissioner Bud Selig keeps eye on economics

PHOENIX — A new stadium is not the only item on Tampa Bay's wish list.

The Rays would also like revisions to baseball's economic system and would welcome any realignment or schedule changes that would alleviate their burden in the AL East.

As with the stadium, the Rays might be in for a long wait.

Commissioner Bud Selig did not rule out the possibility of 15 teams each in the National and American leagues but said radical realignment is not likely.

"Is there massive realignment on the horizon?" he asked. "No, there isn't."

Selig also expressed pride in baseball's revenue-sharing system but acknowledged it will be difficult to bridge the discrepancies between large-revenue and small-revenue teams.

"It's part of the economic system. It's something I live every day," he said.

Tampa Bay's $41 million payroll is dwarfed by that of the Yankees ($201 million) and Red Sox ($161 million) in the AL East.

It looks like the Rays will get their wish when it comes to an expanded postseason. Though he did not go into details, Selig insinuated two more wild-card teams will be added for 2012.

"I like its chances," he said.

Other topics touched on by Selig during a question-and-answer session with the Baseball Writers Association of America:

• He ruled out bringing the AL and NL together on the designated hitter but expressed interest in perhaps having reverse DH rules in interleague play.

• He expects expanded replay on balls down the foul lines and perhaps some other specific calls. "There will be some more replay, but it will be very modest," he said.

• Individual ballparks might study safety issues in the wake of the tragedy in Arlington last week, but Selig said he is not in favor of prohibiting players from tossing balls in the stands.

• Baseball won't use regular-season records to determine homefield advantage for the World Series because of the time needed to prepare. "Are you going to call up on Sept. 28 and say you need 8,000 hotel rooms in a city?" Selig said.

• Neither contraction nor expansion is on the table. "At 30, we have the perfect number," he said.

• He strongly defended Derek Jeter's decision not to come to the All-Star Game. "There is not a player I'm more proud of in the last 15 years than Derek Jeter," he said.

CLEMENS TRIAL: With the jury seated and opening statements today in Roger Clemens' federal perjury trial, the former pitcher's lawyers plan to challenge whether Congress had authority to hold a hearing on steroids in the first place.

TRADES: The Mets sent closer Francisco Rodriguez and cash to the Brewers for two players to be named. … The Blue Jays sent outfielder Juan Rivera to the Dodgers for a player to be named or cash considerations.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

Commissioner Bud Selig keeps eye on economics 07/12/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 13, 2011 1:13am]

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