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Selig mum on report of Bonds perjury investigation

PHOENIX -- Commissioner Bud Selig withheld commenting Saturday night on the latest news regarding Barry Bonds, saying he would keep to himself any personal feelings he has about the sluggers' quest for the career home run record.

Selig, who has a home in nearby Scottsdale, met with reporters
at the Houston-Arizona game and was asked about reports this week
that a grand jury is investigating whether Bonds lied when he
testified to a grand jury in the BALCO case in 2003 that he never
knowingly used steroids.

"It's inappropriate for me to comment," Selig said, "and
frankly there is nothing for me to comment on right now. Obviously
grand jury testimony is supposed to be secret. It will be what it
will be. I'm sure Sen. Mitchell and his staff are monitoring
everything very closely."

Selig has appointed former Sen. George Mitchell to lead an
investigation of steroid use in baseball in recent years. The
commissioner emphasized that the probe was not solely about Bonds.

"As I said the day we announced it and I say it again today,
[Mitchell] was told he can go anywhere he wants wherever things
take him, and he will," Selig said. "It will be a very
wide-ranging, comprehensive investigation."

Selig was asked if he believed Bonds' drive for the career home
run record was tainted by all the steroids talk.

"I have my own feelings on the subject," he said, "but I
think I'll let people make their own judgments."

He said he wasn't surprised by the hostile reaction Bonds has
received on the road this season.

"I don't like controversy, and I don't like the manifestations
of controversy," Selig said, "but I understand and I'm sure he
understood and I'm sure the Giants and everybody else understood
that at home it will be good and on the road it's going to be very
tough."

In another matter, Selig said he is "extremely encouraged" by
the results early this season.

"I don't think people understand about all the changes we've
made, changing the economic landscape, all the other things that
have gone on," he said. "We have more parity today than every
before, and I think it's even more obvious now."

Selig said the true test will come on Labor Day.

"Last year there were 18 or 19 teams still in contention for
either the wild card or division championships," he said. "This
year I believe there will be 20, maybe even 22. Somebody wrote the
other day that we've had more parity than the other sports, but we
don't seem to get credit for it."

A decision is expected soon, he said, on who will purchase the
Washington Nationals, and he said he hoped for progress in the
Florida Marlins' attempts to build a new home.

"They're trying," he said. "I like South Florida. They need a
new stadium. The stadium's in the wrong place and it's not a
baseball stadium."

He was also asked about the chances for Chase Field in Phoenix
to host the All-Star Game.

"It's definitely on my radar," Selig said. "They deserve an
All-Star Game and they're going to get one."

As for all the home runs this early in the season, Selig said it
was too early for "juiced ball" talk. A reporter jokingly asked
if the balls were being rubbed with "flax seed oil," a reference
to what Bonds reportedly told the 2003 grand jury he thought he was
using.

"Believe me, I won't comment on that," Selig said. "You can
be sure."