On Tuesday, the Bud Selig farewell tour made its stop at the O.co Coliseum in Oakland.
Here’s a partial transcript of the press conference, which Selig held in the bowels of the Coliseum.
(Note: Questions are paraphrased, but Selig’s answers are directly transcribed.)
Listen to Selig’s full press conference right here:
— Karl Buscheck (@KarlBuscheck) August 19, 2014
Now that the 10-year lease has been completed, what is your hope for the A’s ultimately?
“No. 1, I’m happy that the A’s have entered into the lease. It’s important. I give both sides a lot of credit for it.”
“I know there has been criticism about the length this has taken…It’s complicated. It’s very complicated. In spite of the fact that a lot of people don’t think that it is and now we have litigation. So, everything is now on hold and that’s just the fact of life.
“But let me say at the outset, this team needs a new ballpark. I know I said it the last time I was here.”
“My only comparison is that this reminds me of County Stadium in its final days, and Shea Stadium. And for those of you in this room, that’s not a compliment.”
“So, lest there be no misunderstanding here, this team needs a new stadium.”
“I think they’ve done, and I will say this, they’ve done a remarkable job. I mean that sincerely.
“This is always something I wanted to get resolved before I leave office, which is another five-and-a-half or six months. I’m not sure how long the litigation will go on.
“I’ve always said the local club, I say this in Tampa…they know their market best.”
“So, once the litigation is resolved, then we”ll all proceed.”
Aside from the court case, what have been some of the other complications involved in the situation?
“I had a committee that worked very well in fact-finding. I know some people were unhappy with the committee, but I understand all that.”
“Look, let me be very candid with you, you have two teams who have very dissimilar views.”
What will you tell the next commissioner Rob Manfred about the situation?
“That will be between the two of us at the appropriate time.”
“Rob has been very, very much involved in the lease extension and everything else.”
Selig’s thoughts on territorial rights…
“Territorial rights are a avery sensitive matter. There is no question about it. I’ve had a lot of clubs talking to me, you know, there are clubs that may want to move.”
“Territorial rights are a sensitive matter because people buy franchises, build stadiums, do things on the basis this is their territory. So, territorial rights have always been the part of any equation.”
A lot of A’s fans think that maybe the A’s aren’t your favorite team, is that a fair assessment?
“No…I have no, I have no negative feelings about the A’s way back when. Well, that’s not true. I was not a fan of Charlie Finley.”
“People, people, interesting enough, sort of come to conclusions and I often wonder…I have no animus toward the A’s…On the contrary, I have a great regard for Lew [Wolff] and Billy [Beane] and Bobby Melvin one of my all-time favorites, as he well knows. It’s absurd actually.”
Why is Coliseum site better than the Port of Oakland?
“My view is generally shaped by my own people and Lew’s feeling. I meant what I said before. I have 30 franchises to worry about. I can’t know every market.”
“I let the local club make that judgement, but the club itself, after all, knows what they need.”
“It has to be up to the local club to determine what’s in their best interest. After all, they’re going to have to live there, they’re going to have to play there, they’re going to have try to generate revenue there.”
On Bob Melvin…
“I can’t tell you how much I think of him. He’s done a great job as a manager, but he’s a marvelous human being.”
Have you been reflecting on your legacy as you make your final tour?
“I just had my 80th birthday, so I’ve become pretty philosophical. But I’m really looking forward to teaching and writing a book. When I was a kid…I wanted to be a history professor—thought that’s what I was going to be. So, I finally get to be one at age 80.”
“Legacy is up to the historians of the world. But the sport since 1992 is more popular than it’s ever been, the gross revenue is at a stunning high, attendance at a remarkable [level]. But sure, we have problems. Every commissioner is going to have problems no matter what. This is one of them. My mother told me he’d [Lew] be a problem sixty years ago, and she turned out to be right.”
What would you say to fans who blame you for the stadium controversy?
“That is incorrect. That’s all I can say. I didn’t make the stadium nor did I create the controversy. I’m the one sitting in the middle. And that’s alright.
“It’s just wrong. Because, believe me, what would I like to do? I’d like to resolve the issue like we did everywhere else. But this is unique in that we have two teams that have dissimilar opinions.”
“Better they blame the commissioner than Lew.”