Baseball commissioner Bud Selig seemingly has planned to step down, retire or vacate his job almost since he took office back in 1992. But this time, he is much more emphatic about his retirement pronouncements, even to the point of believability.

“You can believe it,'' Selig said, pretty convincingly, by phone.

There are several reasons his public proclamations are more believable this time, but one previously unknown nugget that's come to light adds to its credence. According to two ownership sources, Selig was actually offered a five-year extension when he signed the two-year deal a year ago, and without hesitation he took the two instead. When the term expires, he'll be 80, and word is he figured that was a nice round number.

Selig wouldn't comment about the decision to take the much shorter deal. But he was firm on the phone about the next one, the call to retire in 21 months.

“I really am,'' he said. “I know the owners are having a tough time with it … (But) I am serious.''

No surprise, not everyone believes him. And that's not entirely surprising considering how many times he's changed his mind in the past.

Despite his stronger statements, some baseball owners are still said to wonder whether Selig will really leave the job when his term expires Jan. 15, 2015 (it's actually two weeks later than has been reported), and at this point that skepticism understandable.

They don't believe him, and they don't want to believe him. He's said to still be fielding calls from ownership friends that are half doubt and half protest.

Many also wonder whether a replacement can be found that can garner the needed three-quarters vote.

“There isn't a man or woman alive who can get the 24 votes,'' one owner said.

But the evidence is mounting that they'll need to find someone.

Selig, who was extended unanimously two years ago after then-Padres owner John Moores finally relented (he was upset at the time that a vote on prospective new owner Jeff Moorad was delayed, but felt better when made $200 million more after selling later), told the Associated Press Sports Editors of his plans the other day in New York. And he's telling friends the same. After meeting with several skeptics in the ownership ranks recently, he confided to a buddy, “I'm done (when the contract ends).''

Selig's popularity among other owners is a large part of the reason he's stayed this long, and if he changes his mind again, that'd be the reason. He's been heard to say many times something along the lines of, “Well, if they feel that strongly.''