By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
PHOENIX - In an extensive question-and-answer session with reporters Tuesday prior to the 82nd All-Star Game, commissioner Bud Selig and Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Michael Weiner addressed a number of topics, ranging from the ongoing labor talks to proposed rule changes.
Among the highlights:
Selig said the game's chief economic indicators are all trending upward, citing gross revenues, attendance, local TV ratings and advanced media.
"The game has never been this popular, said Selig.
Reports that MLB is considering a realignment with two 15-team leagues was highly premature, said the commissioner.
"I don't know where all those stories came from, said Selig. "If you're thinking about significant realignment, it will probably have to wait.
The current collective bargaining agreement expires in December and Selig labeled the talks with the union "ongoing and constructive . . . It's a far cry from our labor negotiations in the '60s, '70s and '80s.
Selig absolved Derek Jeter of any fault for deciding not to come to the All-Star Game, citing the physical and mental exhaustion associated with his pursuit of 3,000 hits.
"There isn't a player that I'm more proud of in the last 15 years than Derek Jeter, said Selig. "He's played the game like it should be played. He's been a better human being off the field than he's been a player on the field . . . I know why Derek Jeter isn't here and I think I would have made the same decision Derek Jeter did . . . Any suggestion that I or anybody else around here is unhappy with him is just false.
The proposal to move the All-Star Game to Wednesday to allow pitchers pitching on the final day of the first half to participate may have some merit, Selig said.
"It's something we'll review,'' he said. "We'll take a look at that.
On the matter of confrontations between umpires and players, managers and coaches, Selig agreed with Tigers manager Jim Leyland that "too much tension exists.
"We need to remove some of that tension, I don't think there's any doubt, said Selig.
Selig strongly hinted that the 2013 All-Star Game will be hosted at Citi Field in New York. Next year Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City will be the site of the game.
Selig backed the idea of an international draft, arguing that it would "level the playing field.
Selig suggested that increased use of instant replay would be minimal, with boundary calls -- on the foul lines -- the next to be examined.
Weiner indicated that labor talks, from the perspective of the Players Association were "professional, though little concrete had been accomplished.
Weiner indicated that the players would like to see an alignment of two 15-team leagues, but added that that issue was tied to regular-season scheduling, an expanded postseason field and perhaps a shortening of spring training.