Pirates won't replace Expos in Puerto Rico

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Pirates won't be asked to shift any home games to Puerto Rico next season despite the popularity of Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente's former team there, commissioner Bud Selig said Tuesday.

Selig denied that his office would ask the Pirates to play one
series in San Juan in 2005 to partly make up for the Montreal
Expos' expected absence. The Expos played 22 home games in Puerto
Rico each of the past two seasons as they prepare to relocate to a
new home.

Any possibility of a Pirates return visit probably ended when
the Expos and Pirates drew four-figure crowds for each game of a
four-game series July 8-11.

"As far as our experiment with Puerto Rico, it was pretty much done this year, at least for a while," Selig said.

The Expos averaged only 10,333 for their 22 games in San Juan this season -- about half what the Pirates draw in Pittsburgh --
compared to the 14,222 they averaged for the same number of games
in 2003.

Selig would consider going back to Puerto Rico only if a team asked to play there, and team spokesman Jim Trdinich said the
Pirates have made no such request.

The Pirates expect their attendance to jump next season as fans buy season tickets in anticipation of landing seats to the 2006
All-Star game, so they have no plans of asking any home games to be

Despite the attendance falloff this season, Expos general
manager Omar Minaya believes Puerto Rico can host more major league games in the future.

The Pirates remain one of Puerto Rico's favorite teams because of Clemente's continued popularity there.

Clemente was a star outfielder for the Pirates from 1955-72
before dying in a plane crash during an earthquake relief mission
to Nicaragua on Dec. 31, 1972.