Yankees apologize to fans for missing WBC stars

TAMPA, Fla. -- Even before a pitch was thrown Saturday, the
New York Yankees apologized to their fans.

The Yankees displayed a sign by the customer service booth on
the main concourse, explaining it wasn't their fault Derek Jeter,
Alex Rodriguez, Johnny Damon and Bernie Williams had departed for
the World Baseball Classic.

"Thank you for expressing your concerns," the sign stated.
"We are sorry that certain players will not be present for
portions of spring training. These players have elected to
participate in the World Baseball Classic. The World Baseball
Classic is an event sanctioned by the commissioner of Major League
Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association. The New
York Yankees did not vote to support this event. Any comments you
have regarding the World Baseball Classic should be directed to the
commissioner of Major League Baseball or the Major League Baseball
Players Association."

The Yankees lost to the Cincinnati Reds, dropping to 0-3 during
spring training.

New York abstained when baseball owners approved the World Cup
in August 2004 at the urging of baseball commissioner Bud Selig.

"We don't like it that well," Yankees owner George
Steinbrenner said when spring training began. "If a player gets
hurt, he's risking a lot. But it was Selig's idea and he wants to
do it, so I suppose we're going to do it."