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A-Rod announcement upsets MLB10/29/2007 9:05 PM ET
By Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com
DENVER -- Commissioner Bud Selig made it clear during the World Series that an embargo had been placed on all Major League Baseball stories until the sport's top event had come to an end. Thus on Monday, MLB reacted with aggravation over news of Alex Rodriguez opting out of his contract with the Yankees breaking during Sunday night's Game 4 at Coors Field. The Red Sox defeated the Rockies, 4-3, to sweep the World Series for the second time in four years, but long before the game ended, the news had been released and confirmed by Scott Boras, Rodriquez's agent. "We were very disappointed that Scott Boras would try to upstage our premiere baseball event of the season with his announcement," Bob DuPuy, MLB's president and chief operating officer, said in an e-mail statement sent out to various media outlets on Monday, including MLB.com. "There was no reason to make an announcement last night other than to try to put his selfish interests and that of one individual player above the overall good of the game. Last night and today belong to the Boston Red Sox, who should be celebrated for their achievement, and to the Colorado Rockies, who made such an unbelievable run to the World Series." Boras followed by issuing his own statement -- of apology. "I apologize to the Boston Red Sox and Colorado Rockies and their players, Major League Baseball and its players, and baseball fans everywhere for that interference," Boras said. "The teams and players involved deserved to be the focus of the evening and honored with the utmost respect. The unfortunate result was not my intent, but is solely my fault. I could have handled this situation better, and for that I am truly sorry." Selig said on Saturday night that he had asked all those associated with MLB, including the 30 clubs, to refrain from making any major announcements until after the World Series. That's a common practice, although a rare exception was made in 2006 by the overarching news that MLB and the Players Association had signed a new six-year basic agreement during the Cardinals' five-game victory over the Tigers, ensuring labor peace for the sport well into the next decade. Selig said he was mostly concerned with any developments coming out of New York, including a replacement for Yankees manager Joe Torre. Joe Girardi is in negotiations for the job. "Look, I mean every club has to do what they think is right," Selig said. "My only view once the World Series starts is that there aren't any announcements. What everyone does internally isn't an issue. They're entitled to do things now. After all, they've got to plan. But I'm old fashioned. This is the World Series. And if all those clubs were in the World Series and somebody announced something, they'd be mad. So I'd like the same respect shown." Rodriguez had 10 days after the end of the World Series to determine whether he wanted to opt out of the 10-year deal he signed with Texas prior to the 2001 season. So there was no necessity to make the announcement on Sunday night, MLB officials reasoned. In doing so, he left $81 million on the table: $27 million for each of the last three seasons. The announcement also came shortly after Rodriguez was honored for the fourth time with the Hank Aaron Award as the top offensive player in the American League. Rodriguez didn't show up for the presentation press conference, although Milwaukee's Prince Fielder, who won for the National League, was there and was on the dais to the right of Aaron, who praised Fielder effusively and never mentioned Rodriguez. A-Rod's failure to appear was not considered an insult to either Aaron or Selig, Rich Levin, a spokesman for the Commissioner, said on Monday. The right-handed-hitting slugger who hit 755 career homers and Selig have been friends for 50 years. Selig was owner of the Brewers, the team for which Aaron finished his 23-year career in 1976. The award was established in 1999 on the 25th anniversary of Aaron hitting his 715th homer to pass Babe Ruth at the time into first place on MLB's all-time list. A-Rod's appearance, though, certainly would have been a distraction, Levin acknowledged, considering the focus on his immediate future and almost certain questions about Torre's departure from the Yankees after 12 seasons, all of them concluding with the team making the playoffs. "Let's put it this way: We weren't surprised that A-Rod didn't show up," said Levin, who added that Rodriguez was not asked by MLB to refrain from attending.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.