Baseball management officials implicated in the Mitchell Report apparently will escape suspensions and fines. Speaking Thursday at his annual meeting with the Associated Press Sports Editors, baseball commissioner Bud Selig indicated public service will be required of officials found to have acted improperly.
As part of Selig's announcement April 11 that players wouldn't be disciplined, management and the players' association agreed that players will join Major League Baseball in "efforts designed to educate youth and their parents regarding the dangers of performance-enhancing substances." The union also agreed to contribute $200,000 to "an anti-drug, charitable, educational or research organization."
"I don't use the word amnesty. I don't think there is amnesty because I think that whatever they're doing, they're doing something as a result of what they did. And the club officials and the clubs will be treated in exactly the same manner," Selig said. "That would be unfair if they weren't."
Asked as a follow-up whether that meant management officials wouldn't be suspended of fined, Selig responded: "They're going to be treated the same way."
San Francisco Giants owner Peter Magowan said in February that he and general manager Brian Sabean had met with Selig about the club's prominent mention in the Mitchell Report, which was released in December.
The report said former Giants athletic trainer Stan Conte told Sabean in 2002 that a player had come to him with questions because he was considering buying steroids from Greg Anderson, Bonds' former trainer. Longtime Giants equipment manager Mike Murphy discovered syringes in the locker of catcher Benito Santiago, the report said.
Mitchell's report also said Conte asked Sabean to remove Anderson and others like him from the clubhouse but the GM wasn't willing to do it.
The joint announcement by MLB and the union was made as part of an agreement by the sides to toughen the sport's oft-criticized drug-testing program. The announcement stated "major league players, including players named in the Mitchell Report," would participate in the educational efforts. Questioned whether participation was voluntary, Selig responded: "It's part of the program."
Mitchell recommended that players not be punished unless Selig determined discipline was necessary to maintain integrity in the sport.
"Don Fehr has said this, and I won't disagree with him, just the announcement of all their names was punishment enough," Selig said, referring to the union head.
"Whatever has happened has happened. I want our players to do public service. I want our club people to do public service. ... I said to myself if we can take and use our sport to educate people on the dangers _ and particularly the players named in the report, but other players who are willing to do it _ ... public service and doing a lot of hours of public-service work are more important than any draconian penalty."
Speaking later, Fehr wouldn't comment on Selig's remarks.
"The agreement speaks for itself," Fehr said.
Selig and Rob Manfred, baseball's executive vice president of labor relations, also addressed the World Anti-Doping Agency's announcement that it have a blood test for Human Growth Hormone available at the Beijing Olympics this summer. The two said they will monitor whether a test becomes commercially available.
"Right now, you can't buy a blood-test kit to do an HGH test," Manfred said.
MLB hasn't been persuaded that there is a validated HGH test.
"They took 2,000 tests four years ago," Selig. "We've never seen the results. No one's ever seen the results."
Fehr said wasn't bothered by the assertion of Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, who said "steroids is strictly a Don Fehr problem and creation" during an interview on Comcast SportsNet.
"Every since he bought the White Sox, Jerry feels an obligation every now and then to stick a pin in me," Fehr said. "When the owners unilaterally implemented terms and conditions of employment after the strike in 1994, they could have implemented drug testing. They didn't. Bud did not even implement it in the minor leagues until 2001."
On other topics:
_Selig said baseball must do more to increase black players, whose percentage has declined from 19 percent in 1995 to 8.2 percent last year, according to Richard Lapchick of the University of Central Florida's Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports. "We lost a generation. I'm not sure why. I've heard all the reasons about basketball and football," Selig responded. "I'm going to say it's our fault."
_Selig anticipated the process of the Tribune Co. selling the Chicago Cubs will speed up. "They seem to want to move with dispatch, which I believe is in everyone's best interest."
_About $350 million was transferred last year in revenue sharing, according to Manfred, who said the total is expected to increase to approximately $393 million this year.
_Selig said he wasn't concerned by ticket pricing plans of the New York Yankees, who intend to charge $500 to $2,500 for seats near home plate in the first five-to-eight rows of their new ballpark in 2009. "They know their market better than I do," Selig said. "If they believe that the market will pay that and their fans will accept it, then I'm not going to second-guess them. I only second-guess them afterwards when it doesn't work."
_DuPuy said MLB and ESPN spoke about the network's decision to confront Houston's Miguel Tejada on camera with his birth certificate. Tejada walked away from the interview and later admitted he is 33, two years older than he's listed in the club's media guide. "I was saddened by it," Selig said.
_DuPuy said "the coalition at county commission level is tenuous" for the Florida Marlins' proposed new ballpark.
_Fehr said changes in the format of the Hall of Fame Veterans Committee made it a "foregone conclusion that Marvin Miller would never be elected." Miller, the former union leader whose strategies helped create free agency and multimillion-dollar salaries, received 51 of 81 (63 percent) in early 2007, falling 10 votes shy of the needed 75 percent. Miller got just three of 12 votes in December. "It makes me sort of very sad," Fehr said.
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