PHOENIX -- In what has become a tradition during All-Star week festivities, for the 11th consecutive year, Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig is planning to address baseball fans around the world in a live Internet chat session on Monday, a day before the big game at Chase Field.
Selig will spend about a half-hour answering questions at MLB.com's booth, during the MLB All-Star FanFest in the Phoenix Convention Center, adjacent to the downtown ballpark, beginning at 1 p.m. ET. The chat will be streamed live on MLB.com.
Each year during the chat, Selig answers about 20 questions from fans addressing the state of the game. If Selig has time after answering questions submitted via MLB.com, he takes some from members of the audience.
Fans can submit their questions now via e-mail at AllstarChat@website.mlb.com
This year's chat session should generate much interest, particularly with the D-backs hosting the 82nd All-Star Game for the first time in their 14-year history. Plus, Selig is currently facing hot-button issues like widening the scope of instant replay, expanding the playoffs to 10 teams and the current state of collective bargaining to sign a new contract between the owner and players before the current one expires on Dec. 11.
It's also shaping up as another exciting season on the field with close division and Wild Cards races in both leagues. Heading into Thursday's action, no second-place team is further out than four games.
The annual MLB FanFest hosts more than 40 baseball-themed attractions, including state-of-the-art video batting and pitching cages and interactive clinics. It's a popular yearly draw in the host city and this time around more than 100,000 tickets have been pre-sold to the five-day event, which opens its doors to the public on Friday. More than two million fans have attended FanFest in its 20-year history.
The chat has evolved since 2001 when Selig took questions via the Internet for the first time from his Milwaukee office. 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.
On Tuesday, the Commissioner will again have a question-and-answer session, this one for writers attending the annual All-Star Game meeting of the Baseball Writers Association of America.
Barry M. Bloom is national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.