Union League Baseball announced today that former MLB Deputy Commissioner Steve Greenberg has accepted the role of Commissioner of Union League Baseball, effective immediately. Greenberg was highly praised by outgoing Commissioner Fay Vincent who is retiring due to health issues.
“I am excited to preside over the next decade of Union League Baseball, and hope I can ensure the continued commitment to excellence the league has established in it’s fist ten years.”
Greenberg will take over the duties of Commissioner from Fay Vincent immediately, and says he has already set three main goals for the rest of the decade.
“We need to build new stadiums, expand our presense in the media market, and work on establishing networks for our teams. Right now, only the New Orleans Gold Sox and Washington Generals have them, and to be honest, they could be better deals. Our TV Deal with ABC ends in two years. I believe we can double that amount.”
Steve Greenberg joined Allen & Company as a Managing Director in January 2002. At Allen & Company, he focused on the sports and media industries, as he has throughout his business career. Greenberg was the Co-founder and Chairman of Fusient Media Ventures, a New York-based sports and media company
Prior to starting Fusient, Mr. Greenberg and his business partner Brian Bedol co-founded Classic Sports Network in 1993. Backed initially by Allen & Company and other private investors, Classic Sports was one of the few successful independently owned new cable networks launched in the 1990’s.
Drawing on his love for baseball and his extensive legal and business experience, Mr. Greenberg previously served as the Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer of Major League Baseball under Commissioner Fay Vincent from 1990 until 1993. At MLB, Mr. Greenberg oversaw the day-to-day operations of the Commissioner’s office, including Broadcasting, Finance, Legal, Baseball Operations, Special Events and the League’s lucrative properties licensing operation.
Prior to MLB, Mr. Greenberg practiced law from 1977 through the end of 1989 with the Los Angeles firm of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips where he specialized in Sports and General Business Law and served as the firm’s managing partner in 1987 and 1988.
The son of baseball legend and Hall-of-Famer Hank Greenberg, Steve played first base and was captain of the baseball team during his undergraduate years at Yale University. After college, he was drafted by the Washington Senators and spent five years playing for minor league affiliates of the Senators (who later became the Texas Rangers). Subsequently, he enrolled at UCLA Law School where he earned his J.D. degree in 1977. Mr. Greenberg and his wife Myrna have two daughters and three grandchildren.
Saying that young people look up to professional athletes, members of a House committee investigating steroid use said today that Major League Baseball and Union League Baseball have failed in their responsibility to stop the use of performance enhancing drugs and was encouraging their use among young athletes.
“Kids aren’t just talking about their favorite teams’ chances in the pennant race,” said Representative Tom Davis, Republican of Virginia and chairman of the committee. “They are talking about which pro players are on the juice.”
In opening remarks for hearings that are scheduled to feature several stars and former stars of baseball, including Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Tom Brady, and Jose Canseco, several lawmakers talked about the spreading use of steroids among young people. Several pointed to a report by the Centers for Disease Control that said 500,000 American teens take steroids, partly in an effort emulate their sports heroes.
Henry Waxman, a Democrat and the ranking minority member of the committee, said baseball wasn’t doing enough to curtail their use.
“We’re long past the point where we can count on both leagues to fix its own problems,” he said.
“I find their use distasteful in the extreme.”
Catcher Tom Brady responded to questions from the commitee. “I have never used any illegal substances during my professional career. I never have, and never will.” he said. “I find their use distasteful in the extreme.”
Two other players ordered to testify, Rafael Palmeiro and Frank Thomas, both issued statements denying steroid use.
“I have never used steroids. Period,” Mr. Palmeiro said. “I dont know how to say it any more clearly than that. Never.”
Frank Thomas also issued a statement saying that he had not used steroids.
The committee also heard by noon today from parents of two young athletes who committed suicide after using steroids for several years. One father called the players “cowards” for being “afraid to step on the field without the aid of performance enhancing subtances.” Mr. Waxman said that if pro ball players are allowed to use steroids, it was no surprise that younger athletes want to use them too.
“There is an absolute correlation between the culture of steroids in high schools and the culture of steroids in major league clubhouses,” he said. “Kids get the message when it appears that it’s okay for professional athletes to use steroids. If the pros do it, college athletes will, too. And if it’s an edge in college, high school students will want the edge, too.
“There is a pyramid of steroid use in society and today our investigation starts where it should – with the owners and players at the top of that pyramid,” Mr. Waxman said.
As the spoke, Major League Baseball commissioner George W. Bush, who was to testify later, sat with his arms crossed and lips pursed.
Sitting near him was the Fay Vincent, Commissioner of Union League Baseball.
The hearing came a day after lawmakers chided Major League Baseball, Union League Baseball, and both players unions, accusing them of misleading Congress and the public about the new steroids testing policy. The members of Congress were reacting angrily to the disclosure of the policy’s details, which they contended were not as stringent or wide-ranging as baseball executives and union officials have said they were.
Mr. Davis and Mr. Waxman sent a 10-page letter to Mr. Selig and Mr. Vincent to express their disappointment and frustration with the new policy.
Both MLB and ULB instituted a steroids policy in 2002 and agreed last year to toughen it. The details of the new policy have not yet been finalized.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, a Democrat from Maryland and another member of the committee, said: “Baseball’s policy needs to be one of zero tolerance and it needs to have teeth.”Other players expected to be called to testify are Rafael Palmeiro, Curt Schilling and Frank Thomas.
Several aides to congressmen said that the call for hearings on steroid use came about partly because of the publication of Mr. Canseco’s book “Juiced,” in which he admitted using steroids and said Mr. McGwire and Mr. Palmeiro had also used them.
The players, who will appear in a panel format, will most likely be asked, under oath during the nationally televised hearings, whether they have used illegal steroids.
Immunity is not expected to be offered, and some of the players may invoke their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Davis said the players will have “an opportunity today to either clear their name or take public responsibility for their action, and perhaps offer cautionary tales to our youth.”
The committee’s hearings will come in four different panel sessions. In the first one, they heard from United States Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky, a major league player for 17 years and a member of Hall of Fame.
“Baseball needs to know we are watching,” he said. “They owe it to all of us to prove they are fixing this terrible problem. If not, we will have to do it for them.”
Like many of the other committee members who spoke, Mr. Bunning spoke of his love of the game, and of the place baseball has in American history and culture. Mr. Bunning talked about how steroid use had tainted the game for many people, and made them question the accomplishments of many great record-breaking plays.
“What is happening in baseball now is not natural and it is not right,” he said.
“The last thing I want for America’s pastime is to make it be the subject of a witch hunt,” he said. But, congress had to take action because the owners and players themselves were not, he said.
“It’s not their game,” he said. “It’s ours. They’re just enjoying the privilege of playing it for a short time. What I think many of the players do not understand is that many players came before them, and many will come after them. They all need to protect the integrity of the greatest game ever.”
The committee also heard from the parents of Rob Taylor, a baseball player from Southern California who used steroids and committed suicide.
“There’s no doubt in our minds that steriods killed our son,” Rob’s mother, Dr. Denise Garibaldi, told the committee. “In his mind he did what baseball heroes like Canseco had done.”
Dr. Garibaldi and her husband, Raymond Garibaldi, said that unbeknownst to them, their son had been encouraged to take drugs to bulk up by scouts and trainers and coaches since he was in high school. They noticed changes in his demeanor and his behavior, but he denied to them he used them, Dr. Garibaldi said.
“He told us, I don’t do drugs. I’m a ball player,” she said.
“Baseball is not life,” she said. “Baseball is a game.”
Another parent, Donald Hooton Sr., lashed out angrily at the players, saying that their use of steroids had been emulated by his son, Taylor, a high school football player who also committed suicide.
“You are role models.”
“You are cheaters, you are cowards,” he said. “You’re afraid to step on the field without the aid of performance enhancing subtances.”
He said the players who will testify “should be man enough to face the authorities, admit the truth and face the consequences,” instead of “hiding behind the skirts of your union.”
He also said, “I’m sick and tired of having you tell us you don’t want to be considered role models. You are role models.”
Fay Vincent announced today that he would retire after the end of this season, ending his 9 year reign as Commissioner of Union League Baseball. While Vincent had one more year on his current 5 year term, he said that he felt it was the right time to step down. Vincent, 67, cited his age as his primary factor in deciding to retire.
“I’m not getting any younger. There’s apparently life after baseball, or so I am told. I’m going to sit at home and enjoy the silence for a while.”
Reports have surfaced that Major League Baseball has uncovered evidence of steroid use by former ULB Slugger Mark McGwire. The MLB Commissioner of Baseball, George W. Bush has passed the information along to ULB Commissioner Fay Vincent. Both Vincent and Bush declined to comment on the matter.
ESPN’s Jayson Stark reports that Bush was given evidence by Mike Piazza, who was suspended 20 games by MLB today. Piazza and McGwire played together on the Hollywood Stars from 1996-1999, when McGwire left to join the New York Mets as a free agent in 2000. Piazza declined to comment to media and has left Baltimore according to a team representative.
Both McGwire and Piazza were brought to the then Hollywood Stars by former General Manager Marlon Trigg Sr, who died in 1999. Current Los Angeles Stars GM Kenneth Mastny was not available for comment at this time. He took over GM duties in 1997 after Trigg was let go.
The Vancouver Canucks have been struggling to come to an agreement with BC Place Stadium and the Province of British Columbia on a new contract. Under the old terms, the Canucks paid a relatively modest upkeep fee on the facility while sharing minimal profits. The Province wants the Canucks to agree to a new deal that would pay the Province more of the money generated by the team, which Canucks owner Jim Pattison Jr. says would harm the team’s ability to compete.
“We simply cannot afford to agree to the Province’s terms at this time. We’re trying to come to a mutually agreement contract for the use of BC Place Stadium, but right now, we’re not close to a deal.”
The Canucks were at one time the darlings of Canada, winning the first two Union Cup championships, and are credited with revitalizing interest in baseball in Canada at a time when rival franchises the Expos and Blue Jays saw a marked decrease in fan interest due to the 1994 MLB Strike that saw the Expos chances at postseason glory ended prematurely. But with three MLB franchises decreasing interest in the on field product of the Canucks, despite stars like Mike Mussina, Ichiro Suzuki and the emergence this season of rookie outfielder Shannon Carter. The Canucks were unable to afford to sign Ichiro to an extension, and fans are worried that Ace Mike Mussina may be next to leave.
“It’s a tough time for the Canucks, there is no doubt about that.” said Fay Vincent, commissioner of the ULB. “But we are hopeful that an agreement can be reached before the start of the season.”
Pattison was not quite so hopeful, saying that “We’re keeping all options open right now, including relocation. I’ve fielded calls from a few cities that would love to have us. If the government of the Province of British Columbia doesn’t want us, well, it will be the city of Vancouver’s loss. We want to stay. They’re the ones who are telling us to get out. I feel bad for the fans most of all. We’ve been here for 9 years. We’ve provided this city with two Championships, and we are being treated like dirt.”
The Phoenix Fire won the Union Cup, but didn’t get to celebrate with it for long, as former Owner Vince McMahon returned during their victory parade. After the fire disposed of the Storm in an epic seven game series, the Fire returned home as champions. Current owner Shane McMahon, the son of former owner Vince McMahon, arranged for the Fire to have a victory parade to America West Arena, the site of that night’s WWE Monday Night Raw, where Shane McMahon is also the current CEO following the apparent death of Vince McMahon back in February of 2003. During the parade, Shane McMahon was attacked from behind by his father, who then proceeded to take the Union Cup from Postseason MVP Kenneth Payne. Felix Vega attempted to tackle the former Fire Owner, but was blindsided by WWE wrestler and Hollywood star The Rock, who was celebrating with the Fire.
McMahon screamed that “Phoenix doesn’t deserve this!” and proceeded to vanish into the crowd with the Cup with The Rock at his side. Union League Commissioner Fay Vincent, who was on hand for the event, called it “The most despicable thing I’ve ever seen.”
McMahon’s former rival, Jersey City Giants owner Donald Trump said that McMahon had “obviously lost his mind” and couldn’t “stand his son eclipsing his own accomplishments.”
Later that night, Shane McMahon tasked WWE wrestlers John Bradshaw and Ron Simmons with finding his father and returning the Union Cup to where it belongs, the city of Phoenix.
The Union League Baseball Players Association has come to an agreement with the ULB, agreeing to compromise on a new deal. The only major addition is the ability of the ULBPA to opt out of the deal at the end of the 2002 season.
Allenberg and Vincent met behind closed doors for several hours before the deal, and Allenberg said that the ULBPA is pleased with the deal. The reason for the ULBPA being able to opt out is because the ULB and MLB Players Associations may combine in the offseason. The ULB and MLB have had better relations in the last two years, and have discussed having both of the Leagues champions meet in a Champion vs Champion Series.
“With the possible merger pending, we wanted to keep our options open, and the draft that was sent to the ULB Commissioners Office did not include this provision. Luckily, everything worked out without any major issues.”
Union League Baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent and ULB Players Association Preisdent Josh Allenberg are meeting in Allenberg’s home town of Pittsburgh today. There is renewed hope that the current tabled deal between the two sides may be finalized before the end of the Week ahead of the ULB Draft and the start of Spring Training.
With the Owners currently voting on the new ULBPA Labor Agreement, Fay Vincent took time to talk to reporters about the issues surrounding the agreement. ULBPA President Josh Allenberg’s recent comments about the ULBPA have suggested that the Players will not agree to the new Contract, but Vincent says he is not worried about a possible strike.
“I think we’ve seen the effects that can have. Right now, everything is in Allenberg’s hands. We’ve never had a situation like this, but I’m certain we can get it resolved. We’ll sit down and talk, and we’ll see where it goes from there.”