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Selig in no rush on Rose issue

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Credit: ESPN.com/Associated Press


Sunday, March 9
Selig in no rush on Rose issue
Associated Press


SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Bud Selig is in no hurry to decide whether to reinstate Pete Rose -- not while the baseball commissioner is enjoying his most relaxing spring in years.

"This is not a popularity contest or anything,'' Selig said. "In the end, I'll have to do what I think is right.''

During a stop at the San Francisco Giants' spring training home Sunday, Selig touched on a number of topics, including future All-Star game sites and the slim possibility that the regular-season opener in Japan could be canceled if the United States goes to war.

When asked about the Rose saga, the commissioner was characteristically noncommittal. He didn't say whether baseball will meet with the banned career hits leader or his representatives before spring training ends. He feels no pressure to reach a decision before opening day.

"We're very deliberate, very cautious,'' Selig said. ``I know there's strong feelings on both sides. There's nothing new. I'm waiting for the results of the various investigations that are going on.''

Rose agreed to a permanent ban in August 1989 following an investigation of his gambling. While baseball investigator John Dowd detailed 412 baseball wagers in 1987, including 52 on Cincinnati to win, Rose has repeatedly denied he bet on baseball.

Baseball officials have said Rose must admit he bet on baseball if he is to gain reinstatement. As long as he is banned, he is ineligible for the Hall of Fame ballot.

"I don't feel pressure from anybody. Every decision I've had since I became commissioner -- the only pressure I've felt has been from within,'' Selig said.

There's not much pressure on Selig these days -- at least not nearly as much as he has faced in the past. With no impending crises or attention-grabbing distractions, Selig plans to enjoy himself before traveling to Tokyo in two weeks for baseball's season-opening games between Oakland and Seattle.

"We start this season for the first time in many, many years with no cloud hanging over us for a work stoppage or anything else,'' Selig said. "I can't tell you how much more I'm enjoying this spring compared to the last one.''

Still, Selig acknowledged there's an outside chance the trip to Japan could be canceled if war breaks out. The Athletics and Mariners are scheduled to play two exhibition games against Japanese teams before facing each other in regular-season games March 25 and 26.

"I've been talking to Washington myself, so we'll do whatever they want us to do,'' Selig said. "The Japanese are really looking forward to this. It's really a great experience.''

Selig's biggest upcoming decision might be selecting the hosts for the next few All-Star games. After months of evaluations and pitches from many cities, Selig said the Giants are likely to land one of the next three games.

"We'll make a decision in the next couple of weeks,'' Selig said. "Their chances are better than good. ... We've had lots of cities applying. What's interested me the most is the competition for these games. There's going to be some disappointed cities.''

Selig hopes to announce the hosts of the All-Star games in 2005, 2006 and 2007 before the end of the spring.

San Francisco hasn't hosted an All-Star game since 1984 -- but unlike many other candidates, the NL champions have no problems selling out Pacific Bell Park or otherwise attracting interest.

The Chicago White Sox will host this season's game, and Houston is the 2004 host.

The Giants undoubtedly would be pleased to host the 2005 game, which might be the last before Barry Bonds' retirement, but owner Peter Magowan simply hopes San Francisco will be included in the next group of hosts. Bonds' four-year contract runs through 2005, with a player option for 2006.

"From (Selig's) perspective, some of these clubs may need a bit more of a boost than we do right now,'' Magowan said. "There's many people to please in something like this, so we're trying to give him some leeway.''
 

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