Selig: 'I have no problem with Jeter'

Yankees Derek Jeter runs out a single in the third inning against the Tampa Bay Rays. (Nick...

Yankees Derek Jeter runs out a single in the third inning against the Tampa Bay Rays. (Nick Laham/Getty Images)

Bob Elliott, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:41 PM ET

PHOENIX — Commissioner Bud Selig came to the defence of New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter on Tuesday afternoon.

“I have no problem with Derek Jeter, I’ve known him for 15 years,” Selig said at a Baseball Writers Association of America luncheon at the Sheraton Hotel, his ninth annual state of the union address.

“There isn’t a player I’m more proud of. He has played the game the way it should be played, plus he’s been a better human being off the field. What Derek Jeter has brought to this sport is a great pride. He’s become a role model, so any suggestion that I or anybody else is unhappy with him not being here is false.

“Let’s put the Derek Jeter question to bed.”

Voted by fans as the American League’s starting shortstop, Jeter returned to the lineup July 4 after a calf injury, went 5-for-5 against the Tampa Bay Rays to reach the 5,000-hit plateau and did not come to Arizona.

Selig said he would consider moving the all-star game to a Wednesday in the future — allowing pitchers who started the previous Sunday to pitch — although many teams are reluctant to give up a Thursday home date.

“I read how people don’t want to come here, how interest is down,” Selig said. “Our ratings are up, inter-league attendance was up 18.3%, our (over-all) attendance is the same as last year and we have 15-to-20 rain outs to make up. We have nine million video streams and 10 million hits a day on MLB.com.

“Alex Rodriguez and Chipper Jones aren’t here — they had surgery. Roy Halladay facing Jared Weaver is a good match ... we didn’t fly in two guys from Omaha.”

Selig touched on a number of other topics such as:

* The Los Angeles Dodgers in a current state of mess due to Frank and Jamie McCourt divorce proceedings.

Selig said baseball had enjoyed a year of  “peace and quiet, with one exception, which I don’t have to diagram for you.”

“When Fox sold the club to Frank McCourt (in 2003), we didn’t sell the team, Fox did. All 30 clubs looked at the information ... This was something Fox really wanted to get done.”

Selig said since the matter is in court — the next date for bankruptcy case is July 20 — he could not comment.

“Last year at the all-star game, similar questions were asked about the Texas Rangers,” Selig said. “People were saying, ‘Isn’t this terrible?’ But it didn’t turn out that way. We have a wonderful ownership there now. We couldn’t have done any better. We will make our way through all this.”

* Fan safety after a Texas Rangers outfielder tossed a ball into the crowd and a fan fell to his death; and another fan almost fell out of the second deck at Chase Field during the State Farm home run derby Monday.

“It was a horrible accident, heartbreaking, almost beyond comprehension,” Selig said. “Each team determines its own ballpark safety features based on local laws. I saw a CNN poll where 91% of the fans hope we don’t ask players to stop throwing balls into the seats.”

* Expanded replay. Selig said that managers would like to get a second look at line drives down the left and right-field lines. He termed the changed as “modest.”

* The 2013 all-star game is headed to be at the New York Mets’ Citi Field.

* Ownership changes with the Houston Astros and Mets. Selig said the proposed sale of the Astros was moving ahead on schedule. And Milwaukee native David Einhorn, who once lived near to Selig, is close to finalizing investing in the Mets for a share or ownership with Fred Wilpon.

* And Selig repeated his desire for an international draft and a slotting system for draft selections, if an agreement can be reached with the Players Association.

bob.elliott@sunmedia.ca 


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