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Bloops: Bud’s Book In The Works

Posted by Steve Lombardi on October 19, 2011

Via Madison.com with a h/t to BBTF -

As the World Series begins, the most powerful man in baseball readies a nest in Madison for retirement. It contains bubble gum, pretzels, a basket of baseballs and a cable connection to Major League Baseball's TV channel.

Allan H. "Bud" Selig has charmed the UW-Madison history department, paid a million-plus for a professor to teach the history of sports and had scholarships created in his honor. His new office in the Humanities Building is cozy and modest. The effect of his presence will be the opposite.

Selig, 77, owner of the Milwaukee Brewers from 1970 to 1992 and commissioner of Major League Baseball since, will retire in 2012. His intention to return to his alma mater to write his memoirs, and to create a legacy in his chosen-but-not-followed field of history, has been in the works for at least a few years.

"One of the favorite parts of my life was the four years I spent in Madison, and I always thought I would be coming back as a history professor," Selig said Tuesday.

"I can't tell you how much I am looking forward to it, to write my book and do what I want to do in Madison," he said.

The department is getting ready to search for a professor to fill Selig's endowment wish — and preparing for sightings of the commissioner wandering the maze of halls and giving a lecture or two, said department chairwoman Florencia Mallon.

"We're not hiring (the professor) this year, but there is a very good chance, if all goes to plan and the commissioner is on board, we will be hiring next year," Mallon said.

If Bud does write a book, would you have an interest in reading it?

This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 19th, 2011 at 4:22 pm and is filed under Bloops. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

52 Responses to “Bloops: Bud’s Book In The Works”

  1. No, but I will have an interest in seeing the stupid "All-Star Game winner gets World Series homefield" rule abolished, the number of teams in each league evened out, the role of instant replay expanded, and all of Bud Selig's other poor moves undone.

  2. Selig has not been a good commissioner. Average at best.

  3. For 20 years as commish those are the things we come up with to bash him? Why not burn him in effigy for the time he shrugged his shoulders during the all-star game?

    I've not heard a lot of well thought out attacks on him. Someone will imply he practically shot up McGwire and Sosa personally. The players union had a little to say about this.

    Would I want to read his book? Not really. He's part of the history but not the part we care much about. I don't care that much about Billy Beane or any other front office person either.

  4. Frankly I'd be interested in reading it, but simply so that I can have a somewhat complete knowledge of his tenure so I know how to accurately judge him going forward. I'm not old enough (only 28) to remember any former commissioners so judging him would be foolish.

  5. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    @3/ Doug B -
    "... Would I want to read his book? Not really. He's part of the history but not the part we care much about. I don't care that much about Billy Beane or any other front office person either."

    Doug, I will respectfully disagree. Putting aside my personal views of Selig, I think in general the "behind-the-scenes" baseball people, such as GMs, scouts, announcers, or other front-office people, usually have more interesting stories to tell than any random big star player. The players can tell you the day-to day details, but usually don't have great insight. I'd rather read about stuff that I cannot observe on the playing field.

    I doubt anyone has more "behind the scenes" MLB knowledge over the past couple decades than Bud Selig. How much he's willing to tell is another matter.

    @2/ Drew Cobb -
    After Bowie Kuhn, "average at best" looks pretty good.

  6. Johnny Twisto Says:

    It would probably have some interesting background anecdotes, but I don't expect one honest word on anything re labor relations, "competitive balance," or any other important topic.

  7. Bud has made the game a better and mire innovative business. Revenues and franchise values have soared and that's a good thong in the sense that people wil want to allocate capital to the sport. The alternative is more teams folding. The darker side of his legacy includes the steroid cloud and the perception of pervasive favoritism and cronyism.

  8. Mark in Sydney Says:

    I'd be interested in such a book, though it would depend on whether it comes from the Professor of History Selig or the Ego Selig. If he could write an objective account of his time, warts and all, then it would be brilliant. Otherwise it becomes a political wash.

  9. @1: the number of teams in each league evened out, how? More expansion? Contraction?

    Houston I've heard could be moving to the AL, but then, without expansion, you have an odd amount of teams in each league, necessitating a quite sizable increase in Interleague play. Which Bud would have loved, I'd guess.

    Another round of playoffs upcoming? Thanks Bud.
    The contraction debacle in itself would be enough for me. But, then, there was Selig presiding over baseball in '94 as not only an owner, but also acting 'commish'- no conflict of interest there, as he flushed baseball down the toilet. Montreal, a damn good MLB market (we forget) essentially went down the drain, in that moment. Yet years later, we still have teams in places like Florida.
    I'm not a fan of his.

  10. I doubt I'd ever want to read an autobiography, memoir, or other book of personal memories written by a man who retires to Madison, WI.

  11. Johnny Twisto Says:

    What if you could sneak a peek at a Madisonian's diary?

  12. "How Not To Succeed in Baseball," by Bud Selig.

  13. I will never forget how Bud screwed over the Astros in 2008 by making them play a late-season HOME series vs the Cubs in Milwaukee. The Astros wanted games to be delayed, as a hurricane was raging through Texas, threatening their families and homes. Instead Bud makes them play what was effectively a road series. Of course, Bud's precious Brewers were in a crazy tight race with the Astros for the final playoff spot.

  14. COMPLETELY O/T, but a curious strategic situation has arisen...

    Freese just hit a 1-out double in the bottom of the 6th. With the pitcher two batters away, StL immediately warmed up the pen, presumably because they would PH for the pitcher if he gets up with runners on. Napoli went out to conference with Wilson, with McCarver supposing that they might be planning to pitch around the batter (with McCarver then explaining what pitching around mean and THEN discussing the 0-2 Wild Pitch Wilson through as the problem with pitching around, despite the count being 0-2, ugh...).

    My question is, would it ever be wise to pitch around lower-of-the-order batters to bring the pitcher up to bat if you knew the other team was very likely to pull him? Would you rather see a PH bat with 2 men on chase an ace off the mound? Obviously, there are a ton of variables, including the pitcher who'd be pulled, the quality of the PH, the bullpen, etc. But it did make me wonder of the possible efficacy of such an approach... What it did NOT make me wonder about was the horribleness of Tim McCarver.

  15. Wilson threw, not through, a wild pitch.

  16. Will Bud discuss how expanding the playoffs has watered down the regular season, so that good teams, but not great teams, like the Cardinals play in the World Series? And he wants to expand the playoffs to more teams?

  17. Doug B. wrote in part:
    "I've not heard a lot of well thought out attacks on him."
    ====

    This is my public apology to Bowie Kuhn for saying he was the worst Commissioner in Baseball history. He is now the second worst.

    A "well thought out attack" on Selig can be made by looking at the problems Baseball has had during his tenure. Consider his reinstatement of George Steinbrenner who had agreed to a permanent suspension by Fay Vincent. Steinbrenner had paid $40K to a gambler to dig up dirt on Dave Winfield.

    Next consider the 1994 Baseball strike. Then consider Selig role (before becoming the acting Commissioner) in the free agent salary collusion for which the owners had to cough up nearly $300 million! And that's before we discuss his decisions at and about the All-Star game.

  18. Let's face it. The Commish job is to grow the revenues of the sport, to help extract taxpayer subsidized stadiums and infrastructure from otherwise strapped municipalities, to pit TV networks against each other, and to break the unions (when possible). It's not about the integrity of the game, or fair dealing, or "the best interests" or competitive balance or even equal treatment among the franchises. Bud's done a very good job in a lot of these areas. Esthetically, there's a lot I don't like-such as interleage play, unbalanced schedules, phony playoff rounds, the silliness of the All Star Game.-but even those are more about business-selling more, bringing in more.

    Where I think Bud really let the sport, and the fans, down, was in handling the highly suspect movement of of Montreal to Washington, the trading of ownerships stakes with the Expos, Marlins, and Red Sox, the rigged auction for Texas (and the subsequent transactions that were bizarre for a team ostensibly operating in bankruptcy), the unequal treatment of owners (with Frank McCourt, Fred Wilpon being Exhibits A and B), and the casual partiality and uneven application of the rules that always seemed to benefit his friends and supporters. Baseball should have, at its core, an integrity in the way it is played, the way the umpire calls it, and the way it is administered. Bud often fell short of that standard

  19. SocraticGadfly Says:

    Hello, no. The book will have no truth in it. Bud won't say Word No. 1 about roiding, for example. @5 ... Bud himself wasn't behind the scenes. @17 has good thoughts.

    @14 .... With Cards in the Series, why did Timmy get rid of his red hair and go "natural"?

  20. Just curious, what person would people like to see take the Commissioner's position next?

  21. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Someone who doesn't bend over for the owners.

  22. So, to all who despise Selig.

    Safe to say you won't be traveling to Cooperstown to see his induction?

  23. It'll never happen, but Mike Silva offers an intriguing suggestion in Bobby Valentine:

    "If not in the big league dugout wouldn’t he be the perfect individual to be the next commissioner of baseball? You hear names like Joe Torre and George W. Bush, but what man would be more hands on than Valentine? Who knows more about baseball than Valentine? He’s managed on two continents and just helped produce a film about the fastest growing population in the game today. He wasn’t afraid to tell the Japanese baseball hierarchy how broken their game was, even though to do so in that culture is heresy. His zeal to make a difference in the Far East instead of just managing a baseball team probably hastened his departure.

    Alas, it probably would never happen and just another crazy idea in a long list I have thrown out there. Valentine’s polarizing personality probably wouldn’t sit well with a good portion of the 30 owners. Unfortunately baseball, much like our government in Washington, is more about the status quo than real change. You don’t need a lesson in government to see how dysfunctional our political leaders are, just examine how baseball conducts its affairs and you will learn all you need to know.

    Again, if ESPN Sunday Night Baseball analysis and sports films is what the we receive from Bobby Valentine going forward, I can’t help but wonder how a resource like that is being undervalued. With so many weak field managers and a commissioner that needs a committee to figure out a playoff system, you can’t help but wonder what Bobby Valentine could accomplish if someone were smart enough to just give him the opportunity and get out of the way. Moneyball is about undervalued assets. I certainly believe you have one that spent a Saturday amongst Hollywood instead of where he belongs: a big league dugout."

  24. @10 At long last something BSK and I agree on. I'm familiar with Madison and it's not a good place. Not sure why BSK doesn't like it? One thing Madison does have in it's favor is that you can walk out of one of the wings of the state capitol and practically into a strip bar.

  25. This may be the first memoir written by a major sports commissioner that features pop-up and dot-to-dot pages.

  26. Being a UW grad, I can say that all the Humanities building offices are modest. I thought they were going to dear down that building anyway.

  27. Detroit Michael Says:

    Yes, I'd have interest in reading Selig's book, especially if it gets some good reviews. I've read a Bowie Kuhn memoir and a Marvin Miller memoir, so apparently that sort of thing interests me.

    I'm definitely not a fan of Selig though.

  28. @21 Johnny Twisto

    I agree in theory but the problem is that the Commissioner is an employee of the owners. If the Commissioner doesn't "bend over" for the owners, they get fired.

  29. Ed-

    It is understandable that Selig would be somewhat deferential to the owners. But he is employed by them to protect the best interests of the game, something he has failed to do. He was never able to overcome the conflict of interest that arose from being a former team owner and arguably actively worked against the best interests of the game when it suited his "former" team.

  30. Tim P-

    I've never been to Madison, but my hunch is that if a multimillionaire with a lifetime pass to every baseball stadium opts to live in Madison, WI, anything he writes is likely to be horribly boring.

  31. Johnny Twisto Says:

    I know. I just think the commissioner *should* be independent and looking out for the best interests of the game as a whole, not someone who thinks the players are an expensive nuisance. You're right though, Seligula (and baseball) is not unique in this regard.

  32. Johnny Twisto Says:

    #31 in response to Ed/28...damn that BSK, always cutting in line.

  33. I would like the commissioner to explain why he felt
    compelled to allow an exhibition game, a game that
    is played like no other, determine home tield for the
    World Series.

    Infuriating

  34. @29 BSK/@31 Johnny Twisto

    No doubt Selig had way too much conflict of interest to be an effective commissioner. But remember, the hiring of Selig was a reaction against Fay Vincent. In fact, when Vincent was fired there was speculation (including by Vincent himself) that the owner's wouldn't even hire a commissioner.

    Anyway, I think the owners have learned their lesson from the Vincent experience and will never again allow an independent commissioner.

  35. @33, Jason, regarding the All Star Game, the answer is TV ratings. I'm sure he was getting some complaints from the network and the advertisers, and needed to show them that there was some skin in the game for the two teams.

    And I agree with Ed @34. He has a lot of power, but at the end of the day, he works for them, and maximizing value is what they care about. He has the owners support because he looks out for their pocket books. The vast majority of them are willing to put up with the conflicts of interest and the special treats for special folk because this is a multi-billion dollar business and he's running it at a large profit.

  36. I would read some reviews first, but I'm guessing his memoirs would amount to little more than a self-serving defense of so many awful decisions, initiatives and omissions.

  37. @30 BSK - Excellent point! Why not retire to Boca? Drive down to see the Miami Marlins play in the air conditioning in June. BSK your thought process is sharp today.

  38. @Dick 17 pretty well nailed it. Check out the sponsorship of Kuhn's page in BBRef.

  39. @38 Frank B: There's no sponsorship info on Kuhn's page. Who sponsors it?

  40. As bad as Selig is, he's not even the worst commish in sports. Selig's primary problem seemed to be that he was spineless. He was a puppet of the owners, his former friends and colleagues. No more, no less. He made some feckless decisions but I think of him as more incompetent than malicious.

    I am much more bothered by Goodel in the NFL and increasily bothered by Stern in the NBA. I don't know enough about the NHL and its commissioner to comment.

  41. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    @28,@29, @31, @34 - finally, we get to the essense of the situation:
    "@28/ Ed@21 Johnny Twisto - I agree in theory but the problem is that the Commissioner is an employee of the owners..."

    MLB loves to put out this image for public consumption, that the Commissioner of MLB represents the best interests of baseball as a whole, and is somehow "above it all", as a fair and impartial arbiter amongst all of the MLB teams, players, and other competing interests.

    The truth is that the Comissioner is:
    - selected by the owners
    - paid by the owners
    - answers to ONLY the owners

    He is going to represent the owners first, everyone else second. When someone in addition to the owners actually chooses and pays him, I'll consider him more independent. Of course, this will never happen.

    @34/ Ed - "...Anyway, I think the owners have learned their lesson from the Vincent experience and will never again allow an independent commissioner."

    The only truly independent MLB commissioner was Kenesaw Mountain Landis. This was because:
    - he was the very first one, so the owners really weren't sure what the office's powers should be
    - they desparately needed his credibility (as a Federal judge) to restore the public's faith in baseball after the BlackSox scandal of 1920, so they gave Landis unprecedented powers over MLB as a whole

  42. I don't think it's going to be a tell-all book, so no, I won't be interested in reading that.

    As far as the new comish is concerned, since I was a kid I heard different names that, according to the media, it would make a good comissioner, among them Joe Garagiola, Tommy Lasorda, etc; but I don't feel the owners will put someone who is not their puppet. Sadly, it's just a bussiness for them.

  43. @41 LA

    Agree 100% with your comment. And it's not just true in baseball, it's true in all sports. And unfortunately, there's never anyone to represent the fans' interests.

  44. Did anyone else see where David Stern makes $26 million a year to be the NBA commish? Doesn't that seem a bit much?

  45. Johnny Twisto Says:

    I knew Bud Seaslug made nearly $20M, but I didn't know Stern got that much. Jeez, I thought the NBA was losing so much money! How can they afford to pay him that much. But obviously he's great at his job, since he only presides over an aborted season every 10-15 years or so.

    So Stern is getting more than any team is allowed to pay LeBron James? That's absolute insanity.

    He's a slimy bastard. Goodell is a fascist. Eff em all.

  46. There is some truth indeed to this attack that on the surface seems over the top. I especially dislike how an overwhelmingly black sport has its athletes so controlled & punished for even critiquing the sport or officiating. And some of the latter has seemed so biased as to make a non-paranoid onjective onserver wonder about conspiracy.

    http://aol.sportingnews.com/nba/story/2011-10-19/gumbel-david-stern-eager-to-be-viewed-as-modern-plantation-overseer?ncid=webmail14

  47. @44 Timothy/@45 Johnny

    Actually no one knows how much Stern makes. Apparently even the union doesn't have the guts to ask:

    http://www.insidehoops.com/blog/?p=8106

  48. I guess does anyone really care how much these guys make? These are big businesses with billion dollar contracts. $20 Million a year isn't that shocking. I guess the big question would be whether you would trade Bud for the balance of Adam Dunn's contract??????

    Just asking.

  49. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    @44-48 -Despite the huge salaries, I'd view the job of Commissioner in ANY of the four major sports as pretty thankless - you've usually got people pulling you in all different directions: 30 owners who all want you to make policies that favor them in particular over everyone else, plus the same thing for the players agents and the players unions.

    Not that I feel sorry for them in any way, but its like being the President of the USA, or being in charge of any huge organization; there's always many people in the general public who think they can do your job much better than you, and are quite willing to express that opinion in public, in very unflattering ways.

  50. @49, Lawrence, I was about to agree when I came a across a story on ESPN saying that Bud is going to involve himself in the compensation talks between the Cubs and the Red Sox for Theo Epstein. Given his history, I can't say it's unexpected, but this is exactly what he should not do. If Bud's involved, or even the threat of Bud, the price of Theo just changed (it's probably gone way up). Let these teams work it out, and if they can't, Theo goes back to Boston. That's fair.

  51. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    @50/ Mike L -
    Well, maybe the Cubs and/or the Sox approached him to arbitrate the Epstein compensation as a last resort, it's kind of a no-win situation, so..... you're making my point!

    I understand what you are saying, that he should be like the Supreme Court and just "decline" this case.

  52. Good. The umpires' best friend finally retires.

    Hope the new commissioner restores the 21st perfect game. (There is the Roger Maris precedent.) That will make a lot of umpire worshippers really upset.

    Also, hope the new commissioner helps baseball enter the 21st century. Again that will upset the umpire worshippers as well. So be it. They should go back to the 19th century where they should reside forever.