NEW YORK - Major League Baseball had this message for Alex Rodriguez and agent Scott Boras: Shame on you.
Boras announced during Game 4 of the World Series Sunday night that Rodriguez was opting out of the final three seasons of his contract with the Yankees. The timing left baseball officials livid, and Boras apologized yesterday evening, just after Rodriguez filed with the Players Association and became a free agent for the first time since 2000.
"We were very disappointed that Scott Boras would try to upstage our premier baseball event of the season with his announcement," Bob DuPuy, baseball's chief operating officer, said in an e-mail to the Associated Press. "There was no reason to make an announcement last night other than to try to put his selfish interests and that of one individual player above the overall good of the game.
"Last night and today belong to the Boston Red Sox, who should be celebrated for their achievement, and to the Colorado Rockies, who made such an unbelievable run to the World Series."
Boras said causing a distraction was an unintended consequence.
"I apologize to the Boston Red Sox and Colorado Rockies and their players, Major League Baseball and its players, and baseball fans everywhere for that interference," he said in a statement. "The teams and players involved deserved to be the focus of the evening and honored with the utmost respect. The unfortunate result was not my intent, but is solely my fault. I could have handled this situation better, and for that I am truly sorry."
The Yankees maintained yesterday they will not attempt to re-sign the third baseman now that he has opted out.
"No chance," Hank Steinbrenner, a son of owner George Steinbrenner, said at Legends Field in Tampa. "Not if it's made official."
Hank Steinbrenner did not make much of Boras's timing. "It doesn't matter to me," he said. "But I'm sure there's a lot of people that aren't very happy about it. Other baseball people, the commissioner's office, the Red Sox."
Hank Steinbrenner said the team left messages with Rodriguez, and "we really wanted to meet with him."
"We wanted him to stay a Yankee. We wanted to let him know how much we wanted him. The bottom line is . . . do we really want anybody that really doesn't want to be a Yankee? How the heck can you do that? Compare him with [Derek] Jeter. Jeter, since he was a little kid, all he ever wanted to do was play shortstop for the Yankees. That's what we want."
New York was preparing to offer Rodriguez a four- or five-year extension worth between $25 million and $30 million annually and had hoped to meet with him to present the offer.