Selig calls again for tougher sanctions against steroids

Updated: September 8, 2005, 1:19 AM ET
Associated Press

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Hours after the ninth player was suspended for violating Major League Baseball's steroids policy, commissioner Bud Selig once again called for tougher sanctions.

"On April 25, I sent a letter to Don Fehr, the chief of the players' association, proposing that violators of the program be suspended 50 days for first offense, 100 days for the second offense and a lifetime ban for the third," Selig said in a speech to the Commonwealth Club of Silicon Valley.

"The only response I received from the union is that they were in the process of talking to their players and collecting their feedback. Unfortunately, that was more than five months ago."

The current agreement between the owners and players calls for a 10-day suspension for first offense, 30 days for the second, 60 for the third and a year for a fourth offense.

Many in the audience of about 200 wanted to know the likelihood of the Oakland Athletics moving to their town despite the San Francisco Giants' territorial rights to the South Bay area.

Selig didn't offer much hope. The Giants bought their team and privately built their stadium with the understanding that their territory was their defined area, Selig said.

"The Oakland club is in the midst of trying to get a stadium built in their area," Selig said. "We're clearly not going to expand. Frankly, there are people who think we've expanded too much. I hope for at least the time being that we have status quo."

Selig said the move of the Montreal Expos to Washington D.C. was different because the Expos didn't have an owner and the Baltimore Orioles didn't have territorial rights. Still, baseball agreed to compensate Baltimore owner Peter Angelos for the move.

Selig wouldn't give a timetable for his decision on a new owner for the Washington Nationals, a franchise bought by the other 29 teams before the 2002 season.

"There is no change," Selig said. "We have eight groups bidding, and it's aggressive, spirited bidding, and we hope to have a decision in the coming short period of time."

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press