Big-league Commissioner Selig also believes that minor league baseball is "central to the well-being of the game. In truth, we must grow together."
The two baseball heads contend that the minors have done much to reach out to grow the game for Major League Baseball and organized youth leagues across the country.
Virtually all major and minor leagues will be playing in new or recently renovated ballparks with up-to-date amenities in 2013. There are 15 minor leagues with 176 clubs, and with a line of investors who have expressed interest in possible ownership.
In recent years, the globalization of America's pastime has come of age, Selig likes to remind, with growing markets such as Puerto Rico, Mexico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Venezuela. Promising players from Latin America, among the first to come to the United States in growing numbers, have met with success -- athletes like Robinson Cano, the Yankee slugger and an ideal ambassador for the increasingly global game. Next came the Japanese, Taiwanese and South Koreans offering MLB potential standouts. The always-talent-seeking Los Angeles Dodgers discovered and signed Hideo Nomo from Japan who met with instant success.
Today, every MLB team has scouts in Asia and the game is seeing promise in China and Australia.
Commissioner Selig acknowledged that the slow pace of baseball remains a problem and needs to be further addressed, a perennial complaint of the fans and especially among the younger generation. Famed managers Tony LaRussa and Joe Torre will work with the commissioner on the nagging matter. MLB will be accelerating efforts in urban America to persuade more youngsters to select baseball as their game of choice.
On a recent flight to New York City, I asked a flight attendant for an extra copy of its magazine, featuring Robinson Cano and the upcoming baseball season. The magazines were gone.
Perhaps that should tell us something, maybe a lot.
Budig served as chancellor or president at three major state universities, including WVU, is a former president of Major League Baseball's American League and is an owner of the Charleston (S.C.) RiverDogs.