Bud Selig could be baseball commissioner for life if he wants.

His backing among owners is as strong as ever after the Mitchell Report, which accused owners and players of ignoring performance-enhancing drugs.

"I'm not sure exactly what you'd say was Bud's crime? I mean, what was he supposed to do?" former commissioner Fay Vincent said. "He has no magic wand. He has got to work with owners. He has to work with the union."

Two things matter most in professional sports: winning and profits. Selig has delivered both.

More clubs have a chance to win the World Series because of the revenue-sharing rules negotiated during his 15-year tenure. And the league set attendance records in 2007, topping $6 billion in revenue for the first time.

"He has total support of the ownership, total support," Chicago White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said.

Selig received $14.5 million in the 12 months ending Oct. 31, 2005, according to Major League Baseball's last available tax return, and owners think he's worth it.

"He's a terrific commissioner, and he's doing the right thing in trying to clean up the sport," Yankees owner George Steinbrenner said through a spokesman. "I am fully supporting him."

Selig has said he plans to retire in 2 years, when he's 75, but some owners think they can persuade him to stay on.

"Believe me, we're going to certainly try," Reinsdorf said. "The job is not done yet. He shouldn't leave until he knows that he's accomplished all he wants to accomplish and there's somebody in place to pick up the ball and go the rest of the way."

Selig, who had owned the Milwaukee Brewers since 1970, became acting commissioner in September 1992 when clubs forced out Vincent. Selig became permanent commissioner in 1998, was elected to a 5-year term and gave up running the team, which his family sold in 2005.

Only Kenesaw Mountain Landis (1920-44) and Bowie Kuhn (1969-84) have served longer among the nine commissioners.

Noteworthy

* A day after being linked to drugs in baseball, former pitcher Allen Watson denied the allegation. Watson was among nine players accused of doping by former pitcher Jason Grimsley in a federal agent's affidavit unsealed Thursday.

Watson, 37, was 51-55 with a 5.03 ERA from 1993 to 2000. The lefty pitched for the Cardinals, Giants, Angels, Mets, Mariners and Yankees.

* The Cincinnati Reds agreed to trade outfielder Josh Hamilton to the Texas Rangers for righthander Edinson Volquez and minor league lefthander Danny Herrera.

* Former All-Star righthander Matt Keough remained jailed yesterday, 4 days after he was arrested for violating his parole by binge drinking at a hotel bar in Newport Beach, Calif.

Keough's probation on a drunken driving charge was revoked at a court hearing and he was ordered held without bail in the Orange County jail. Keough, whose estranged wife stars on the reality show "Real Housewives of Orange County," was arrested Tuesday.

* Cuban slugger Alexei Ramirez has agreed to a deal with the Chicago White Sox. Primarily a second baseman and outfielder in Cuba, Ramirez told the Associated Press shortly after leaving Cuba in September that he hoped to play shortstop.

* The NL champion Colorado Rockies agreed to a $7.5 million, 2-year contract with righthander Luis Vizcaino. Vizcaino was 8-2 with a 4.30 ERA with the Yankees' last season, making a career-high 77 relief appearances. *