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