Selig took six months to approve agent's buy

TUCSON, Ariz. -- After six months of investigation and
deliberation, commissioner Bud Selig has given his approval to
former agent Jeff Moorad becoming a part-owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Moorad and the team's managing partner, Ken Kendrick, revealed
Selig's decision while watching the Diamondbacks' first full-squad
spring training workout on Tuesday.

"It's been a long process," Moorad said, "but I think a
beneficial one for all concerned. The last six months have given me
an opportunity to get to know the club, to get to know the front
office personnel, in addition to getting quite comfortable with the
partnership that I'm about to become a part of."

The Diamondbacks raised eyebrows among other owners when they
proposed making a man who was one of the most prominent player
agents in the game a partner. Moorad had to provide the
commissioner's office with vast amounts of records as part of the

"If you look at the history of baseball," Kendrick said,
"Jeff is probably the highest profile person from the player rep
side to seek a senior position on the ownership side, so they
wanted to be extraordinarily thorough."

Moorad, a former partner of agent Leigh Steinberg, knows that
some in the tight-knit world of baseball ownership don't like him
entering their exclusive club.

"I'm sure that's the case at some levels," Moorad said, "but
on the other hand, I ask to be judged over the long term by what I
accomplish going forward. Hopefully now with an opportunity to do
that, the naysayers will have a chance to at least evaluate me on
the merits."

The commissioner's office was expected to officially announce
Moorad's approval in the next few days.

Neither Moorad nor Kendrick would say how much money would be
involved, but it is significant enough to make Moorad the team's
fifth general partner in the team's majority ownership group.

Moorad, whose former clients include Diamondbacks star Luis Gonzalez, will oversee operation of the franchise as general
"He will be the one of us on active duty," said Kendrick, who
will remain managing partner and represent the team at owners'

Moorad, while at the center of the Diamondbacks' many offseason
personnel moves, officially was only an adviser until Selig's
approval. He was at the head table at the news conferences to
announce the hiring of Wally Backman as manager, then a few days
later, announcing Backman had been dismissed because of problems in
his background.

"Baptism by fire sometimes is the best way to learn," Moorad
said, "and it certainly was a fast-paced learning process, and one
that I hope is not only successful for the team in the short term
but one that can be helpful to me over the course of my career on
the management side."

Moorad said that his move to the other side of baseball "really
has been more comfortable than I might have assumed."

He said his familiarity with people in and around the game has
helped ease the transition.

Kendrick said that Moorad also had assembled a group of
investors who would become limited partners, pending approval from
the commissioner's office.

The team, meanwhile, has a player payroll of just under $60
million, Kendrick said, with a budget slightly above $60 million.
That would allow for a player acquisition in midseason if the team
needs someone to strengthen its position down the stretch.

The other general partners are Dale Jensen, Mike Chipman and
Jeff Royer. They were recruited three years ago by Jerry Colangelo
to take financial control of the team.

Colangelo, who headed the group that brought major league
baseball to Arizona in 1998, was to stay on as chairman, but left
in a dispute over philosophy last year.