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NOTES

Selig Says Game's in `Golden Era'

July 12, 2006|Tim Brown | Times Staff Writer

PITTSBURGH — Commissioner Bud Selig, addressing a meeting of the Baseball Writers' Assn. of America on Tuesday afternoon, would not speculate on baseball's response if Barry Bonds were indicted for perjury and/or tax evasion, criticized Manny Ramirez for skipping the All-Star game, and said again the game's leadership has done what it could to combat performance-enhancing drugs.

Hours before announcing a new seven-year television deal with Fox and TBS, Selig stressed that by most indicators -- attendance, gross revenue ($5.2 billion in 2006) and revenue sharing -- the game remains in its "golden era." Even, he said, in Pittsburgh, where the Post-Gazette's editorial board chose the Sunday before the All-Star game to urge Pirates owner Kevin McClatchy to abandon his "nickel-and-dime" strategies or "choose another game."

Frequently light-hearted and typically protective of his role in baseball's era of steroids and steroid testing, Selig said he believed team medical personnel who informed him human growth hormone -- undetectable in urine and, according to some experts, blood -- was not pervasive in the game. He also implied that there have been positive tests for amphetamines; the joint drug agreement does not require public disclosure of a first positive test for amphetamines.

According to Selig, regarding HGH, team doctors and trainers have told him, "If there were more than one or two on our team we'd be shocked. ... The doctors don't seem to be concerned."

Meantime, Bonds' personal trainer, Greg Anderson, is in jail for refusing to testify before a grand jury, and the U.S. Attorney's office is considering seeking an indictment against Bonds, the second-leading home run hitter in baseball history.

"I'm not going to guess anymore," Selig said. "I'm saddened by the whole thing, but I'm not going to make any judgments until something happens. ... We can't get in the middle of the legal process."

Selig was much harsher in his criticism of Ramirez, the Red Sox outfielder who was voted into the American League's starting lineup. Ramirez cited a knee injury for his refusal to play or appear at the game, despite playing 19 innings Sunday and, according to rumors out of Boston, was spotted walking around a mall Tuesday.

"Maybe I'm old-fashioned," Selig said. "You're voted onto the All-Star team, it's a privilege, you ought to be here.

"He's the only person we had that problem with this year. Everybody else has been terrific."

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The 2008 All-Star game is still looking for a home (next year's game is at San Francisco's AT&T Park), and while Angel Stadium remains under consideration, most believe the game will be played at Yankee Stadium in the final season for that ballpark.

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Japanese baseball legend Sadaharu Oh, 66, reportedly is in a Tokyo hospital, where he is to undergo surgery to have a stomach tumor removed.

"I have indirectly had contact with him," said Ichiro Suzuki, who idolizes Oh and played for him on Japan's World Baseball Classic champion. "All I can really do is hope he will get better."

Oh, who manages the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, is expected to be out at least a month.

Ichiro said he believed Oh's health would not be a distraction to him.

"Things like that happen in life," he said. "You need to keep it separate."

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Chicago Cubs right-hander Carlos Zambrano did not pitch after being struck in the right elbow by a fungo bat before the game, swung by White Sox coach Joey Cora. Preliminary examinations showed only bruising.

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The Dodgers' Nomar Garciaparra, who didn't play in the game, was accompanied by his father, Ramon, and wife, Mia. So, lest anyone be left out, during pregame introduction he mouthed to the camera, "Hi Mom." ... Garciaparra, playing under a one-year contract with the Dodgers, said he had not yet thought of extending it. "We'll see what happens," he said. "That stuff gets taken care of in other times."

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