Commissioner Bud Selig walked to the front of a ballroom at the Westin St. Francis hotel Tuesday for his annual luncheon chat with the Baseball Writers Association of America and immediately answered the question of the day before it was even asked.
Without citing sources, SI.com had reported in the morning that Selig will follow Barry Bonds' home run quest until Hank Aaron's career record of 755 is broken. Selig immediately refuted that report.
"I know there have [been] some things out there today, so let me address this right off the top. I have made no decision," Selig said. "None. Zero on the Barry Bonds situation. I said I'd do it at the appropriate time, and I'll determine what the appropriate time is. It's yet to be determined. A lot of you have asked questions about that and I understand, but there's been no change."
Selig's attendance has been a huge topic the last few days with the 78th All-Star Game in Bonds' personal stomping grounds, AT&T Park.
Former Commissioner Bowie Kuhn was not in Atlanta on April 8, 1974, when Aaron broke Babe Ruth's mark with No. 715. Selig is a close friend of Aaron, who finished his career with Selig's Milwaukee Brewers, and baseball has distanced itself from Bonds due to the steroid allegations that swirl around the slugger.
Bonds has 751 career homers but told reporters Monday baseball had not invited him to any ancillary events. That included a dedication of an inner-city Boys and Girls Club in the name of his godfather, Giants legend Willie Mays, that was held Tuesday morning.
"This is a deeply personal matter for me," Selig said. "People throughout baseball and in my own office have respected my desire not to talk about it.
"I understand that I am the commissioner of baseball and this is the most hallowed record in American sports. I understand you have a job to do, and if I was you I'd be asking the same questions. I'm just going to handle it in my own way and hope it's appropriate. Draw any conclusions you want."
One area Selig admitted he'll be watching is the Giants' use of Bonds when he is at Nos. 754 and 755. In 1974, Kuhn ordered the Braves to play Aaron on the road in Cincinnati even though the team preferred he break the record at home. Aaron eventually did that on a nationally televised Monday night game against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Giants are in last place and the talk in San Francisco has been that Bonds will sit on the road when he's at 754 until the team returns home. Selig hopes that's not the case but did not say he might intervene with the Giants' lineup.
"Clubs are in pennant races now, and I would certainly hope that's the overriding issue and factor right now," he said. "Clubs have to play their best team and try to win every game. You can't tell me a game in July that may not have an impact. It's very important for the sport.
"Now I understand Barry has rested. Lots of managers give players off. When you hit 42, 43 years old, I understand. . . . [Giants manager] Bruce Bochy is a smart guy. They'll do what's right."
Here's a recap of some other topics Selig covered during his 45-minute session:
* On dropping baseball's tradition of allowing teams to add uneven numbers of players to the rosters in September up to a limit of 40 total: "We need to review that. I know I'm bothered in September if a game has any chance of being significant [and untested minor-leaguers are on the field]."
* Changing the division series to a best-of-seven: "I'd like to see it stay three out of five. Every game means more, there's more intensity. On the other hand, I always say to myself, 'My goodness gracious, they play six months, go through all that heartache, play 162 games and they're gone in three games. That's tough.'
"This year, we are going to go to Nov. 1 [if the World Series goes seven games]. If you add more games, you just go later, and I do worry about that."
* Agent Scott Boras' wild proposal of a best-of-nine World Series with the first two games at a neutral site so baseball could plan a Super Bowl-like party: "Teams have been playing for decades to get to the World Series. Now you're going to open it 1,500 miles away or more? You can't do that."
* Playing the 2008 All-Star Game in Yankee Stadium in the Bronx facility's 85th and final season: "It's the most famous sports cathedral in the world, and as long as they're saying goodbye to it, we ought to do the same thing in an appropriate manner."
* Future games: Following the trip to New York, the 2009 game will be in St. Louis. Selig said that All-Star Games from 2010-2012 will be awarded in the next month or two. This year's game is the second straight in an NL park, but 2008 marks the game's return to a strict AL-NL rotation. The favorite for the 2010 game is Anaheim.