Commissioner Bud Selig and the Cardinals didn't exactly take the Puma to the woodshed this week, but they wasted little time calling him on the carpet. Cardinals first baseman Lance Berkman concluded two days of explanations Thursday by apologizing to Selig for an earlier allegation that Major League Baseball "extorted" an agreement from new Houston Astros owner Jim Crane to move the franchise from the National League Central to the American League West next season. "It was a good conversation," Berkman said Thursday night. "I basically apologized for using the word 'extortion.' I had a chance to tell him where I was coming from and he had a chance to explain where he was coming from." Berkman phoned Selig shortly after being advised to do so by one of his agents, Scott Sanderson. The loquacious Berkman and Selig exchanged views for about 10 minutes. Berkman said the conversation ended amicably after he sensed the commissioner was "a little disappointed and maybe a little hurt" over his usage of a word suggesting a felony. "A lot of things sound better in your head than they read in print," Berkman said. "It's certainly a situation in which I was trying to express a pretty strong emotion. For me, it's water under the bridge now. I'm more than happy to make amends. I don't carry any ill will or animosity. That's not me." A longtime Houston resident who spent 12 seasons of his major league career with the Astros, Berkman didn't dispute quotes in which he claimed Selig strong-armed Crane to accept a transfer to the AL West as part of a purchase agreement. Speaking to reporters from ESPN and CBS Sports in Kissimmee, Fla., before an exhibition game Tuesday against the Astros, Berman said of the move: "I hate it. I feel like, basically, the commissioner extorted Jim Crane into moving the Astros."
Berkman upsets Selig, Cards
St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Mar 23