We’re about 25 minutes away from the impending laff-riot of Alex Rodriguez’ Spring Training arrival press conference, and the Commissioner of Baseball would like to assure all fans….the buck stopped with, uh, Bob Melvin? From Newsday’s Wallace Matthews :
“I don’t want to hear the commissioner turned a blind eye to this or he didn’t care about it,” Selig said. “That annoys the you-know-what out of me. You bet I’m sensitive to the criticism. The reason I’m so frustrated is, if you look at our whole body of work, I think we’ve come farther than anyone ever dreamed possible.”
“I’m not sure I would have done anything differently,” Selig said. “A lot of people say we should have done this or that, and I understand that. They ask me, ‘How could you not know?’ and I guess in the retrospect of history, that’s not an unfair question. But we learned and we’ve done something about it. When I look back at where we were in ’98 and where we are today, I’m proud of the progress we’ve made.”
Selig said he pushed for a more stringent drug policy during the labor negotiations of 2002 but ultimately settled for a watered-down version out of fear that the players association would force another work stoppage.
“Starting in 1995, I tried to institute a steroid policy,” Selig said. “Needless to say, it was met with strong resistance. We were fought by the union every step of the way.”
As bodies expanded and home run totals ballooned in the late 1990s, Selig said he consulted with baseball men he knew and trusted, such as Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin (then a coach with the Milwaukee Brewers), Braves president John Schuerholz and Yankees general manager Brian Cashman to gauge the extent of the problem.
“They all told me none of them ever saw it in the clubhouses and that their players never spoke about it,” Selig said. “[Padres CEO] Sandy Alderson, as good a baseball man as you’ll find, was convinced it was the bat. Others were convinced it was the ball. So a lot of people didn’t know.”