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Bush 'pleased' baseball strike averted

President never got involved in talks

President Bush is a former co-owner of the Texas Rangers.
President Bush is a former co-owner of the Texas Rangers.  

From Kelly Wallace
CNN Washington

CRAWFORD, Texas (CNN) -- President Bush praised Major League Baseball players and owners for averting a strike Friday after earlier expressing, through his spokesman, that it would be "unfortunate" if there was a walk-out, just as the country was gearing up to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

"Like all Americans, the president is pleased that owners and players have come together to resolve their differences and avert a strike," Scott McClellan, White House deputy press secretary, told reporters, after speaking to Bush who was monitoring developments from his ranch. "The president is pleased the American people and baseball fans everywhere will be able to continue participating in our national pastime."

"This is a time of national unity on a number of fronts and it is a time when Americans are coming together and (are) united," the Bush spokesman said. "Baseball gives Americans an opportunity to celebrate the American spirit and enjoy the game."

McClellan said Bush -- a former co-owner of baseball's Texas Rangers -- never got involved to prevent a walk-out, because he felt that the owners and players needed to resolve their differences themselves.

"The president was involved as an avid baseball fan and he is pleased like all Americans that the owners and players came together as he urged and resolved their differences," the spokesman said.

On Thursday, McClellan said the president would be "furious" if a strike happened. Asked if the White House believed that comment helped avert a strike, McClellan said, "He made his feelings known, but I think even more importantly baseball fans all across the country made their feelings known and he was one of those baseball fans."




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