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AROUND THE MAJORS

Selig Disputes Magazine Report

April 03, 2002|From Associated Press

Commissioner Bud Selig criticized a Forbes magazine report that major league teams had an operating profit of $75 million last season--a marked difference from the $232 million in operating losses that he detailed to Congress in December.

The magazine reported in its April 15 issue that 20 of the 30 teams were profitable last season--more than double what Selig said.

"There is no way. Those numbers are fiction, they are pure fiction," Selig said of the magazine's statistics.

Forbes senior editor Mike Ozanian said he stands by the report.

In testimony to the House Judiciary Committee in December, the commissioner said the industry had $232 million in operating losses last year and only nine teams had an operating profit.

Rob Manfred, baseball's executive vice president of labor relations, discussed baseball's finances with the magazine, Selig said.

"I don't give any validity to it," Selig said of the Forbes report. "It's so disappointingly wrong, and they knew it. I think it's a very sad day for journalism in America when somebody knowingly writes something that is not only not true but has been told it is not true."

Forbes has none of baseball's financial information other than what was publicly disclosed to Congress, Selig said.

Ozanian said the Forbes figures "were compiled by the teams themselves in some cases."

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A man who impersonated Derek Jeter and Nomar Garciaparra to obtain baseball bats, then sold them on EBay, pleaded guilty to six counts of mail and wire fraud in San Jose. Herbert John Derungs, 31, of San Francisco faces up to five years in prison, a fine of $250,000 and restitution for each of the counts when he is sentenced July 1, prosecutors said.

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