On occasion I have been a critical judge of Bud Selig. Like many Wisconsinites in the public eye, when he does something horrible or confusing it seems to get a mountain of attention, and when he does something nice the best compliment from the public seems to be that at least he wasn't over-self-promotional about it.
I have my problems with Bud. There are quite a few things I am displeased with (irrationally or not, the game-ending tie in the 2002 All-Star Game at Miller Park is at the top of my personal list), but there are also things that I must concede he did very well for the Brewers franchise.
For one, we would not have baseball in Milwaukee right now if it were not for Selig. That's kind of an "I win button" right there, everything else I'm displeased about somehow is dependent on that fact, as a life-long Brewer fan. Selig is responsible for keeping the Pilots franchise alive by moving it to the Milwaukee market, enduring early seasons of failure and mediocre fan interest, and influencing the construction of a new world-class baseball stadium. To a great extent the health and success and the location of the franchise is a result of Bud's actions.
And if that weren't enough, he gave us 43 years of Bob Uecker in front of a microphone, which is the greatest hiring decision ever made in the history of sport. So the guy can't be all bad, as much as I want to continually mock and gripe about him because he frustrates the hell out of me as Commissioner. And I really am frustrated with him, but I'm taking a break from saying bad things about him at the moment.
Anyway, I recently wrote an article about 1982's Face of the Franchise (Robin Yount) and I made some pretty negative remarks about Selig. One of his many associates wanted to remind me that there is more to the man than the army of League employees he employs and the current questionable war on drugs. I offered him an opportunity to say a few reasonable words, and he accepted the offer.
Thanks for getting back to me. I have been a Brewers fan since they came to Milwaukee and during my career, which started as a reporter, day city editor and editorial writer at the Milwaukee Sentinel. I went on to work in the governor's office, at the University of Wisconsin -- Milwaukee and then the Milwaukee mayor's office before launching into the business I am in today.
So it was quite an unusual set of circumstances that brought me into contact with Bud Selig and started me working for him and the Milwaukee Brewers in 1995. When he became full-time commissioner, I switched over to Major League Baseball. Never in my earlier years did I ever imagine working with the commissioner of Major League Baseball.
I have observed him in many situations and with many people inside and outside of baseball. Here's what I can share with you: when his statue was unveiled at Miller Park, about 20 of his former players came to pay tribute to him and walked onto the stage one at a time, the penultimate being Robin Yount. Bud Selig was flanked by Mark Attanasio and several other dignitaries. Each player shook the hands of the other people on stage and then each one gave Bud Selig a big hug, including Robin. A baseball executive sitting next to me in the audience remarked: "you know, there isn't another commissioner or another club owner whose players would go up to him and hug him in public."
While there have been vocal critics of him for many of the major changes he brought to the game (revenue sharing, the wild card, inter-league play, etc.) and accused him of "ruining the game," most have witnessed how successful these changes were and changed their opinions.
I would tell you this: on every tough issue he has gotten the unanimous support of all the club owners -- something none of his predecessors could do. Do not confuse temporary disagreements or conflict with hate. He gets things done because others in baseball respect him and like him.
As for steroids, I would like to share with you the chronology of how the issue was addressed over the past 20 years and the hurdles that had to be overcome.
Finally, Ron Simon is the agent you quote from the Milwaukee Journal back in the day. I wouldn't rely on a sports agent to quote correctly from conversations that were had during contract negotiations.
I'll look forward to actually talking to you and sharing some more baseball background.
H. Carl Mueller
President, Mueller Communications, Inc.
One of my favorite parts of BCB is that everyone gets their say, as long as they're civil. And if you're striking the right balance, you're going to get a lot of voices on both sides of every issue. Today, on one side of this issue is me, fed up with Selig's mistakes, and on the other side of the issue is Carl, who reminds us that the mistakes come after many years of contributions to Milwaukee baseball.
He's right, of course.
And so am I.