OAKLAND -- In his last scheduled visit here as Major League Baseball commissioner, Bud Selig lamented Tuesday that the A's quest for a new stadium will remain an unfinished item on his to-do list.

"Do I wish it would have been solved? Of course I do. I wish it had. And I understand people's frustration," Selig said. "But is there anything I could have done differently? I don't think so.

"I'm toughest on myself, and I would say, 'I wish I could have done this or that.' But I can't say that here, because it really wouldn't be honest."

Selig, 80, will retire in January after a 22-year tenure that ranks second in baseball history to Kenesaw Mountain Landis (24 years).

He noted that 22 ballparks were built under his watch but leaves with Tampa and Oakland still waiting for the kind of modern facility that has helped the game enjoy unprecedented economic success elsewhere.

"Yeah, I'd like to be perfect. I don't mind telling you that I'm a perfectionist at heart," Selig said. "Listen, one of the reasons for the resurgence of this sport is the building of new stadiums. There's no question about that.

"(But) this was complicated. I know people don't understand that, but it is. If it were easy, and if it were easy in Tampa, then I would have been 24 for 24. I had hopes in both places."


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The A's have struggled for attendance at O.Co Coliseum, which the team shares with football's Raiders. San Jose has offered land for a ballpark, but the Giants have prevented the move by arguing that they hold the territorial rights in that region, a matter that has wound up in court.

The impasse looks much as it did in spring of 2009 when Selig first appointed a committee to analyze the A's hopes of securing a new stadium. As Selig said then: "The A's cannot and will not continue indefinitely in their current situation."

Five years later, and with just a few months left in office, Selig said that the current litigation puts "everything on hold, and that's just a fact of life."

In the meantime, the A's and Oakland officials agreed to a lease extension that could keep the team at O.co Coliseum through 2024.

The agreement gives the A's a measure of stability as they remain blocked by Major League Baseball from moving to San Jose. And it offers a window for Oakland officials to make their case to owner Lew Wolff that he should build a ballpark at the Coliseum site.

"This team needs a new ballpark," Selig said. "(The Coliseum) reminds me of County Stadium in its final days, and of Shea Stadium. And that's not a compliment."

Last week, owners voted Rob Manfred, 55, to be Selig's successor. Selig's longtime deputy will officially take over Jan. 25 and is expected to receive a three-year contract.

Selig hopes that the Manfred's experience working on the Oakland issue all these years will eventually lead to a resolution.

"He's been intimately involved," Selig said. "That's the good thing I think: Rob has been very involved in the lease extension and everything else. So at least the transition is good and constructive and will facilitate that."

A's manager Bob Melvin is a Selig fan. The two go back a long way -- Melvin's great aunt, Estie Epstein, used to play bridge with the parents of Selig's wife. That connection later helped Melvin get his post-playing career start.

"So I've known him for quite awhile and admired what he's done. Baseball's better for his service," Melvin said.

The manager credited Selig's major changes -- such as interleague play, revenue sharing and instant replay -- for creating a harmonious state of the game.

"For an old-school guy, he's really had an eye on some of the new-school things," Melvin said. "It's been an incredible run, and he's been a great commissioner."

Staff writer Carl Steward contributed to this report. Follow Daniel Brown on Twitter at twitter.com/mercbrownie.