Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig said yesterday that he would break his longstanding rule against making major news announcements during the sport's postseason in the event the sale of the Washington Nationals is completed in the coming weeks.
"I have the flexibility to make that decision," Selig said as he prepared to leave following a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on steroids. "And I understand why [a decision on the sale] should be made quickly. . . . We're trying to move as fast as possible."
Traditionally, Selig has asked all teams to hold off on major announcements until the conclusion of the World Series, believing widespread news coverage would detract from coverage of the postseason.
However, with baseball running out of time until the end of the regular season, which concludes Sunday, it is virtually impossible a decision will be made on the Nationals' new owners before the postseason begins Tuesday. That led to speculation that the sale of the team would not be completed until November, potentially putting the Nationals at a disadvantage in the free agent market.
According to Selig, baseball has not eliminated any of the eight groups that have submitted bids to purchase the Nationals from MLB, which currently owns the team. The price is expected to be at least $450 million.
"We've got eight great groups, and they're still submitting a lot of information," Selig said. "But when we know, believe me, that will get announced quickly."
Selig also said that local ties is "one of the strong factors" that will go into choosing a new owner for the Nationals. District officials have warned baseball that it prefers the team's new owners to be locally based.