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July 9, 2002

Allan H. "Bud" Selig


COMMISSIONER SELIG: Good evening. We called the game this evening, and I want to take this opportunity to apologize to the fans that are here, and obviously their unhappiness was understood by all of us, but in the middle of that inning, both Joe Torre and Bob Brenly came to me and said that they were out of players. They were out of pitchers, they were out of players. The pitcher that was pitching, I believe for Bob, had some physical problems. They had used everybody because they wanted to get everybody in the game; that's always been a theory that we use everybody. Obviously, in your wildest dreams, you would not have conceived that this game would end in a tie. But given the health of the players and where they were, frankly, at that point I really had no choice. I understood what Joe and Bob tried to do, and that is, get everybody in the game, and so the decision was made because there were no players left, and certainly no pitching left. I know they feel a responsibility, not to get a pitcher hurt by pitching them too long, so, as much as I hated to do it, and with all of the reluctance in the world, given people here in the stadium and the people watching on television, I really, really had no choice at the end but to end the game at the end of the 11th inning. So, we'll have to evaluate in the future, quite frankly, maybe the usage of players, but I commend both these gentlemen. They tried to get everybody in the game. That's the objective. Unfortunately, this was a rather unique ending to a game. Joe, if you want to comment, and then Bob.

JOE TORRE: Well, you know, I feel bad for Bud, especially here. But the fact of the matter is, and Bob and I had talked about this, when you have players come to an All-Star Game, you want to get them in. The downside is, if you get them all in and it's the ninth inning, the tenth inning and the 11th inning, well, you can't have it both ways. You can't have the people see all the All-Stars, and then, you know, understand that it may, that, something like this can happen. The last thing I want to do is get a pitcher hurt, and send, you know, Freddy Garcia back to Lou Piniella saying he can't pitch. That, to me is the mortal sin of this whole thing. I thought the show was good for the fans. They got to see 11 innings, a 7-7 tie. The players played aggressively, and we all dread this would happen. That's why you save that one pitcher at the end, a starter who can give you a couple innings, and it turned out after the two innings, we had no results. So, I apologize. However, in making your plan to play the All-Star Game -- and I've done this, I've been here several times, I've been lucky enough to be here several time, and the fact of getting everybody in was more important to me than anything. Especially with new players every year. I think it's a treat for the fans, and I know the players want to play, in spite of some people saying that they would rather have days off and stuff like that. But the players that come really want to play. You know, it's our job to do that.

BOB BRENLY: I pretty much echo those sentiments. These organizations, their managers entrust us with their players, and the last thing we want to do is send home a guy who is not going to be able to compete for the ballclub that's paying his salary and expecting him to go out there and perform for his home fans. It is an unfortunate situation. I think it's highly improper to try to place blame on anybody for this thing. It happened. Joe and I did the best we could to get everybody in there so they could showcase their All-Star talents. We did that. Unfortunately the game got tied up and we both saved a starting pitcher in the event the game did go extra innings. As far as my guy was concerned, we extended him as far as we had planned on extending him, and the game ends in a tie. I think there were two outstanding ballclubs out there that played a great game tonight, a lot of excitement, pitching was great, offense was great, great play on the field. There's a lot you can say for an All-Star Game, but in this case, both teams were winners.

Q. Commissioner, when they got a shot of you on the screen when they announced it to the crowd you were in a no-win situation, what were you feeling there?

COMMISSIONER SELIG: Well, I was in a no-win situation, and I was sad. I can't be critical of either one of these guys. They did absolutely the right thing. They tried to get everybody in the game. They saved a pitcher for late innings. I understood the crowd reaction. I tried in a short period of time to figure anything, any alternatives out that I could. But they were out of players and they had nobody to pitch. The thing would have become even worse farce as in the 12th inning, if we went to some bizarre-type option. You know, we'll have to review whether we expand rosters or do other things. That's something that we will have to discuss so we avoid this. But, this is not the ending that I had hoped for. You just said it well. I was in a no-win situation, and I had to take into account both managers who said to me that they had no more players, and certainly no more pitchers.

Q. Given the fan reaction, do you understand having an All-Star Game like this for the fans and the ridicule that comes about, do you wonder why things like this happen in baseball, but not in other sports?

COMMISSIONER SELIG: This is the first time it's ever happened. It is very regrettable and very sad.

JOE TORRE: Other sports you can put players back in the game.

COMMISSIONER SELIG: You can put players back and forth. That's not a fair analogy.

JOE TORRE: I'm not going to bring my pitcher that pitched the first two innings back to pitch the 12th inning.

COMMISSIONER SELIG: We talked about that. Believe me, in a short period of time, we reviewed every option imaginable. But after they have pitched, you can't ask people to come back. And if somebody hurts his arm or ends his career because of that, then what would you say? So, look, this is a very regrettable situation, but at the end, frankly, I had no alternatives, and there is absolutely no one to blame.

Q. Joe and Bob, I think your two starters at the end threw 31 and 25 pitches. Did you confer with them and ask them about the possibility of going one more?

JOE TORRE: Do you think it would have been any different if it was tied after 12 or tied after 11? I don't think it's fair. The longest we pitched any of the pitchers tonight or last year, for that matter, is two innings. You know, just because you throw 25 doesn't mean you get out there and not get out there and then warm up and pitch again. Where do you cut it off? You certainly don't want to cut a pitcher off when he reaches his pitch limit in the middle of an inning and say that's it for you.

COMMISSIONER SELIG: I think in Bob's case, Bob's pitcher ...

BOB BRENLY: Vicente Padilla was warming up, was stiff, he had trouble getting loose in the bullpen. He did get loose and was okay to pitch; and he was on a short pitch count in his first inning of work, but one more was absolutely as far as we were willing to go, and return him to Larry Bowa in the best possible condition that we could. This is not like taking his turn on a regular rotation where you expect him to go out and throw 85 or 90 or 100 pitches. This probably would have been Padilla's side day, and certainly what he did today was a lot more than he would normally do on a side-session day so we got everything out of our guy that we could.

Q. If there's a modification to the All-Star rules would it be just pitchers or would you consider position players as well?

COMMISSIONER SELIG: I think we probably would do both. I think we really do have to consider, if we are going to try to get everybody in the game, we need to have some more people on the roster. I think that's something we are going to have to consider.

Q. With all due respect to Zito, might there be some more thinking going forward in looking at guys who you know can do more than one batter, one out?

JOE TORRE: Well, that was one of my contentions. If there were three or four guys that all pitched on Sunday, I couldn't have taken any of them. Barry Zito was the only one that pitched on Sunday, and I took him because he was picked on every single manager's ballot. It was tough to leave him off for that reason. Again, I could not save Barry Zito to do Freddy Garcia's job, because that would have really been dangerous.

Q. Joe, I'd like to ask you about Soriano, this is only his second year and he made it as a starting second baseman, can you evaluate what he means to the Yankees and Major League Baseball?

JOE TORRE: Well, he's an exciting player. I think you got a glimpse of that tonight. He can field one half-ining and then hit a ball 400 feet the next. He's taken to second base very easily and he's an exciting player, there's no question. He's multi-dimensional and I don't know what the ceiling is, but it's fun watching him.

Q. Do you worry about this being -- with all of the negative reports surrounding baseball, do you worry about this being a public relations nightmare?

COMMISSIONER SELIG: Look, this is not the way I wanted this to end, and I am saddened by it. But I think somebody who asked the question earlier, this is one of those rare situations where they legitimately ran out of players, and frankly, as I sat the last half inning, desperately trying to come up with something, and that's why I asked to talk to Joe and Bob again, frankly, I could not think of an option at that point. At that point everything was done. There were no pitchers left; there were no players left and we can't turn the All-Star Game at that point into something that, I don't know who would be out on the mound.

Q. Was the meeting at your call or who initiated?

COMMISSIONER SELIG: They sent word to me what the status was; I asked to see both of them. They came right over and we had a rather thorough discussion about it. While we were finishing that last half inning, my mind was racing trying again, since we were obviously in unchartered waters, trying to figure out what we could do, where was there a solution, and that's why I asked to see them again because I was trying to figure some way that we could get back out there, but you couldn't bring pitchers back. They had no pitchers. Bob was very concerned about his pitcher. In fact, he was done. There were no other players to use. So, it was very painful. Believe me, I understand. I feel very badly about it. Frankly, I couldn't feel worse, but I also had no alternative.

End of FastScripts�.

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