DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - Diplomacy
Commissioner, Major League Baseball
Born in 1934, Allan H. (Bud) Selig is a life-long baseball fan and former owner of the Milwaukee Brewers. In 1998, he was elected the ninth Commissioner of Major League Baseball. He has overseen wide reform of the league under his leadership, including administrative consolidation, league realignment, and revenue distribution.
The Dominican Republic is very special to Major League Baseball, for reasons that go beyond the staggering numbers of Dominican Major League and Minor League players. I believe baseball is a part of the Dominican Republic’s identity. There is a shared passion among Dominican players and fans. Together, they are continuing a remarkable baseball tradition.
The Dominican Republic produced 95 players on 2012 Opening Day rosters and disabled lists, representing its second highest total ever, behind only its 99 in 2007. The 95 players accounted for 11.1% of all Major League players. There continues to be a very strong pool of Dominican Minor League players as well. We need to continue to have an active presence in the Dominican Republic and to build on the great tradition of its people playing for Major League organizations. In order to do that, we must assist in providing the tools that our future players will need not just on the field but also away from it.
In 2009 Sandy Alderson led a committee that examined how we could improve our operations in the Dominican Republic. Sandy and his group produced a thorough, fascinating report on the various issues that existed and potential ways that we could address them. In March 2010, I asked Sandy to begin to implement many of his recommendations, and so he spent much of the year in the country, working in our office in Santo Domingo and leading our staff there. Sandy confronted longstanding challenges and focused on curbing the use of performance-enhancing substances, reducing attempts of age and identity fraud, and expanding educational opportunities. In all of these areas, our goal was to find solutions that, ultimately, benefited everyone. We have made great progress because of our renewed efforts, with Jorge Perez-Diaz continuing the initiatives that Sandy put in place, followed by our current leadership of Kim Ng and Rafael Perez. Our registration processes and the levels of communication among the parties of the Dominican baseball establishment are much improved. We have seen reductions in cases of age and identity fraud and the use of illegal substances. We have increased the industry-wide exposure that amateur players have received by creating new showcases and amateur tournaments. We wanted to help our clubs protect their investments and to guide aspiring players to make the right choices for not just their careers, but their lives. There is more to accomplish, but I believe we have been very successful so far.
We are committed to maintaining baseball’s remarkable international growth, and the Dominican Republic will continue to be a vital part of that. At the moment, expansion is not being contemplated by Major League Baseball. We currently have 30 Major League Clubs and, in 2013, for the first time ever, we will move to 15 teams in both the American and National Leagues, as the Houston Astros will shift to the American League. I believe the Dominican Republic will remain an essential locale for Major League Baseball for the next generation and a source for our global expansion.
© The Business Year – March 2013
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