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Interview with Bud Selig


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Q and A: Hummel chats with MLB commissioner Selig

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Q:
What was the most fun about your job as commissioner since you took over?

A:
??Satisfaction? is a term I use. My fun is that after I?m here all day long and I?ve had a tough day, I get to go home at night and watch a lot of ball games. But then there?s the satisfaction of watching BAM (Major League Baseball Advanced Media), interleague play, revenue sharing, all the many, many things that have happened.

?The Grand Old Game that is today ... I don?t know how you could have dreamed it in 1992.

?When I think of the 1990s, we were in real trouble internally and externally. The sport had been stuck in neutral for quite a while. Owners mad at owners. Owners mad at the union. Union mad at owners. Everybody mad at the commissioner. It was really a fascinating scenario. Baseball as a social institution was tough to change.?

Q:
Is there a decision of which you?re most proud?

A:
On Jan. 19, 2000, I said that when the clubs voted 30-0 for BAM, history would someday show that it was analogous to young (NFL commissioner) Pete Rozelle getting the football clubs to share revenue in 1961. BAM has become huge. It?s worked out well for all 30 clubs (BAM gross revenues were listed over $620 million a couple of years ago). When I look back at the change, that?s one time I think I was right on the button. I had no idea what we were doing but I knew it was the right thing to do. None of us knew the future of the internet. But the fact that we got all 30 clubs to do it equally, after all the fighting that had gone on ... if you ask me how I did that, I would say I guess I was lucky.

... ?Now, 26 of the 30 clubs have been in the playoffs the last 10 years. That couldn?t have happened 10 years ago.

Q:
Where is the game headed?

A:
?Who could have imagined labor peace for 21 years? When I was growing up, there were two great fighters, Rocky Graziano and Tony Zale. And they stood in the middle of the ring and banged each other for 15 rounds. That?s what (commissioner) Bowie Kuhn and (labor chief) Marvin Miller did. By the time I got there, it was an impossible situation. And through the steroid controversy ... everyone was saying we were slow to react. We weren?t slow to react. We couldn?t do anything. It was a collective bargaining thing.

?My minor league drug policy was in place in 2001 and here we?ve even toughened our policy. Right before Marvin Miller died, he said, ?If I was still there, nobody would be peeing in a cup.? So think how far we?ve come.?
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