Selig agonized over McGwire news

Updated: January 14, 2010, 1:57 PM ET
By Bruce Levine | ESPNChicago.com

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig admitted at baseball's quarterly meetings that he agonized over the statement he put out in reference to Mark McGwire's admission that he took steroids during a good portion of his career.

Selig was unwilling to take his commissioner hat off and give his reaction to McGwire's statement as a baseball fan.

"Look, I am the commissioner," Selig said. "My public statement, which I wrote over and over and over, says exactly how I feel on the matter. I just don't want to add to that. I painstakingly went over it. I went over and over it while I watched the Packers game Sunday night. They gave up so many points and scored so many that I had about five hours to rewrite it about 100 times."

Selig said he found out McGwire was going to speak up about his steroid use before the public did.

"I knew beforehand, but not much," he said. "I've talked a lot about it to [St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa] and [Cardinals owner] Bill DeWitt. We've talked about it since they made him their hitting coach."

Selig talked to baseball's general managers today for almost two hours on a variety of subjects. The general managers will meet with the owners on Thursday for four hours to discuss subjects ranging from baseball economics to instant replay and the possibility of a worldwide draft.

Selig praised his newly formed special committee comprised of managers La Russa, Mike Scioscia, Jim Leyland and Joe Torre along with Hall of Famer and MLB executive Frank Robinson and Washington political strategist George F. Will, as well as six others. Selig is hoping this group turns into a steering committee that will help him, the owners and general managers solve some of the game's problems.

He also stated that he will probably include the general managers in at least one owners meeting per year in the future.

Bruce Levine | email

Chicago baseball beat reporter
Bruce Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000.

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