Bud Selig, commissioner emeritus of Major League Baseball, discussed his new book, “For the Good of the Game,” during a recent interview with Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Tom Haudricourt at an event hosted by the Milwaukee Press Club and Rotary Club of Milwaukee. A Milwaukee native and 2017 Baseball Hall of Fame inductee, Selig is the former owner and president of the Milwaukee Brewers. He served as commissioner of baseball from 1998 to 2015, initially taking over as acting commissioner in 1992. While commissioner, Selig worked to change the economic landscape of MLB to make the teams more competitive with each other. As owner of the Brewers, he led the controversial fight to build Miller Park.
“My job was to get people to work together. When I took over (as commissioner) – and I said I inherited a ‘blanking mess’ – owners hated owners, owners hated the commissioner, owners hated the union, the union hated owners, everybody hated everybody…”
“One thing about baseball is it’s a social institution. Two key words: hope and faith. And the job of a commissioner is to provide a system in which there is hope and faith, which means on March 28, which was opening day of this year, that a number of people and a lot of franchises have hope and faith that their team can compete. That didn’t exist (under the league’s previous economic system).”
“As commissioner, (the league’s economic turnaround) is the thing I am proudest of because we had never had a revenue sharing plan and today we have one that is really good.”
“(Securing the funding to build Miller Park) was painful… this was not a team trying to move. On the contrary, this was a team trying to stay. And we put up with some what I describe in the book as Machiavellian behavior.”
“People can be critical, but the fact of the matter is Miller Park has wound up as one of the great parks in baseball… how good have Lambeau Field and Miller Park been for Milwaukee and for Wisconsin? And that’s what I told Bob (Harlan, former CEO of the Green Bay Packers) at the time – someday we may be gone, but they’ll thank us.”