Phoenix -- Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig said he'll review material in a new book that describes in detail Barry Bonds' use of steroids beginning after the 1998 season.
"I will review all the material that's relative in every way," Selig said Wednesday at Chase Field before Team USA lost 8-6 to Canada in the World Baseball Classic. "Obviously, we've only seen parts of things. The book itself doesn't come out until the end of the month, but we'll review everything that there is to look at."
Asked to elaborate, Selig said, "I was very careful to say exactly what I said, and that's exactly what I mean."
The book, "Game of Shadows: Barry Bonds, BALCO, and the Steroids Scandal that Rocked Professional Sports," written by The Chronicle's Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams, will be released March 27.
Selig said four assistants will carry out the review: Bob DuPuy, Major League Baseball's president and chief operations officer; John McHale, executive vice president of administration; Rob Manfred, executive vice president of labor relations and human resources; and Jimmy Lee Solomon, executive vice president of baseball operations.
Selig did not rule out a meeting with Bonds, although he said nothing is pending. "Given everything that's come out, I can't sit here and tell you today, 'Well, that's fine,' " Selig said.
He made it clear his review won't be a Pete Rose-type investigation even though Rose, like Bonds, has made repeated denials of allegations against him. Reminded that baseball had initiated the Rose investigation leading to his lifetime ban for gambling on baseball, Selig said, "I don't want to get back into the Pete Rose thing, but there was enormous evidence that (former commissioners) Peter Ueberroth and Bart Giamatti had right from the beginning. That's what prompted them to do what they did."
Bonds is approaching the 2006 season with 708 career home runs, third behind Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714). Selig suggested that the records for Bonds and other players linked to steroids should stand.
"We have no empirical data before 2003," said Selig, citing the absence of drug policies before then. "I've heard a lot of people make observations. I think I've even used the term 'McCarthyism' in some great regard about people who, without much evidence other than what they believe is anecdotal evidence, say, 'Well, this person did it, or that person did it.'
"I'm going to be very sensitive about all that because, after all, you're playing with people's lives and their reputations."
The Giants, mostly silent since Sports Illustrated released excerpts of the book on Tuesday, said in a statement that they'll cooperate with Selig: "The Giants fully support and will assist with Commissioner Bud Selig's review of the circumstances surrounding the recent published report about Barry Bonds."
Bonds left the Giants' training camp in Scottsdale, Ariz., for a child-custody hearing in Redwood City. On his way into the San Mateo County Hall of Justice, he did not respond when asked if he'll acknowledge or apologize for his steroids use. On his way out, he did not reply to a question about Selig's plan to review his situation in the light of the information in the book.
When a radio reporter told Bonds the station was receiving calls of support for him, Bonds said, "I love 'em." He had no further comment. Bonds' ex-wife, Sun, also had no comment.
Back in Phoenix, players and former players weighed in about whether Bonds, like Rose, deserved to be barred from the Hall of Fame.
Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt, in Phoenix to broadcast the WBC, said Bonds still deserves to be admitted.
"He's a fellow baseball player, and I've been to some degree in his world, too," Schmidt said. "I'll do anything I can to give him the benefit of the doubt. I never personally saw any of it happen. I don't have factual evidence. I don't have any admittance of guilt by him. All I know is what you know -- it's all denial. Visually, we might question a little bit. But who are we to say he didn't get that strong, that big from rigorous workouts?"
Schmidt is releasing his own book, "Clearing the Bases," on March 14. He said he discusses, among other things, how performance-enhancing drugs have changed the game the past 15 years, in particular the "ridiculous offensive explosion."
Another former slugger, Larry Walker, Team Canada's batting coach, agreed that Bonds is a Hall of Famer.
"It's very unfair for Barry when there are other guys who could be talked about and ripped -- because I see it, and you guys (the media) see it," Walker said. "I'm not naming names, but you'd have to be blind, you know?"
Former Giant Joe Nathan, a reliever on Team USA and an ex-Bonds teammate, said he hopes the steroids scandal doesn't push Bonds into premature retirement.
"I hope he doesn't. I hope he can stay mentally strong," Nathan said. "I feel he deserves a chance at breaking the record. No matter what comes out of this, he still is one of the best players I got a chance to see or play against. It's a shame this has taken all the headlines when (the WBC) is going on."
Astros pitcher Roger Clemens called the latest report a "witch hunt" and said, "I know Barry, and I consider him to be a friend. I worry about the man's health more than I do about him hitting home runs or whatever the point of this witch hunt we're on is about."