SAN FRANCISCO -- In what has become a tradition during All-Star week festivities, Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig is planning to address baseball fans around the world in a live Internet chat session today, just hours before the big game at AT&T Park. Selig will spend about a half hour answering questions at MLB.com's booth at the DHL All-Star FanFest, just blocks from the ballpark in San Francisco's downtown Moscone Center West, beginning at 12:45 PT (3:45 ET). The chat will be carried live on MLB.com's BaseballChannel.TV. It's the seventh year in a row Selig will participate in the chat, and fans can submit their questions now via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
If there's time after the Internet queries, Selig will again field questions from the live audience, which has historically included hundreds of people. With the Giants hosting the All-Star Game and controversial left fielder Barry Bonds in the National League starting lineup, fans are sure to wonder if the Commissioner plans to be in attendance when Bonds hits his 756th career homer to pass Hank Aaron into first place on MLB's all-time list. Plus, there's been another exciting first half of the season, in which close division and Wild Card races are shaping up in both leagues. The annual FanFest hosts more than 40 baseball-themed attractions, including state-of-the-art video batting, pitching cages and interactive clinics. Last year, the event drew 106,000 people over its five-day run at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh. The annual chat with the Commissioner has evolved since 2001, when Selig, from his Milwaukee office, took questions via the Internet for the first time. The next year, the media was invited and a press conference followed the session. In 2003, the current FanFest format -- with fans in attendance -- was implemented. It is preceded at a different venue by the Commissioner's question-and-answer session at the annual All-Star Game meeting of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Each year, Selig addresses issues including the state of the game, franchise movement and problems that are pressing the sport.
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.