Originally created 08/20/04

Selig's contract extended to 2009



PHILADELPHIA - Bud Selig's term as baseball commissioner was extended for three years through 2009 in a unanimous vote by owners Thursday.

On the final day of a two-day meeting, owners also approved starting a baseball World Cup and baseball cable television network.

The World Cup, which must be approved by the players' association and the International Baseball Federation, will not start before March 2006. Baseball hopes to launch the network in July or October 2005.

The 70-year-old Selig, whose family controls the Milwaukee Brewers, has been in charge of baseball since September 1992, first as acting commissioner for six years.

He recalled that when he first took over, he told his wife he thought it would be for a few months.

He was given a five-year term in July 1998, and three years later owners extended it through 2006. As recently as last year, he said his current term would be his last, but owners persuaded him to change his mind.

"If he had wanted six years, seven years, 10 years, I think he would have gotten it today," Colorado Rockies vice chairman Jerry McMorris said.

Several owners said Selig could be commissioner for life if he wanted to.

Under Selig, baseball expanded the playoffs from four to eight teams in 1995, started interleague play in 1997, vastly increased revenue sharing among the clubs, got players to agree to a luxury tax on high-payroll clubs and two years ago agreed to a labor contract without a work stoppage for the first time since 1970.

"This sport was a dinosaur," Selig said. "It didn't change, and when you tried to change it, it obviously had a lot of criticism."