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  •   Gray's Apology Is Not Enough for Players

    World Series Logo By George Solomon and Dave Sheinin
    Washington Post Staff Writers
    Wednesday, October 27, 1999; Page D1

    NEW YORK, Oct. 26 – NBC announcer Jim Gray, under criticism nationally for his aggressive interview of Pete Rose on Sunday night after Rose was honored among baseball's All-Century Team, went on the air tonight before Game 3 of the World Series to respond to the criticism.

    "The [viewer] response was so overwhelming over the past 48 hours, we felt we had to say something," Gray said in an interview before tonight's game.

    Gray said on-air before Game 3 that during his interview with Rose, he "thought it was important to ask Pete Rose if this was the right moment for him to make an apology.

    "If in doing so the interview went on too long, and took some of the joy of the occasion, then I want to say to baseball fans everywhere that I am very sorry about this."

    NBC and a number of affiliates reported receiving hundreds of telephone calls protesting the interview, and sources close to Gray said tonight Gray had received several death threats on his voice mail, as well as through e-mail.

    The Yankees' Chad Curtis, who hit the game-winning home run in the 10th inning tonight, refused to answer Gray's questions after the game.

    "Because of what happened with Pete, we decided not to say anything," Curtis told Gray on live television, adding a greeting for his grandmother before walking away.

    Gray shouted after Curtis, "Don't you want to talk about your home run?" but Curtis did not turn around.

    Gray, whom a number of ballplayers said Sunday they might boycott for the rest of the Series because they felt Gray was insulting to Rose, walked onto the field at Yankee Stadium an hour before the game with NBC Sports President Dick Ebersol.

    "We simply had to respond to what has been an overwhelmingly negative reaction to a perfectly justified interview," Ebersol said, adding the phone calls to NBC in New York on Sunday night in protest "blew up the switchboard for an hour."

    Gray also said on-air tonight that "after viewing the videotape, I can understand the reaction of many baseball fans."

    "The mistake was our timing, choosing to put the interview on after the excitement of the ceremony, when everyone has such a good feeling," Ebersol said. "We also went too long and stayed with the same line of questioning for too long.

    "We thought it was a reasonable interview that would result in getting answers viewers might be interested in, but it seemed to get away from us."

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

    © Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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