Last opener or not, Selig takes in Brewers
MILWAUKEE (AP) If Monday really was Bud Selig’s last opening day as baseball commissioner, he selected quite the game to watch.
The Brewers – the team that Selig and his family owned from 1970 until 2005 – beat the Atlanta Braves 2-0 in a game that featured the return of Milwaukee star Ryan Braun from a drug suspension and the first call overturned under the expanded replay system.
That call – reversed following a challenge from Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez – was Braun ruled out on a play first called an infield single.
Selig was among the 45,691 in attendance. Most fans gave Braun a standing ovation that easily drowned out the smattering of boos.
Two years ago, Braun became the first MLB player to get a suspension for performance-enhancing drugs overturned. Originally banned for 50 games, he filed a grievance and won. Last summer he accepted a 65-game suspension for violations of baseball’s drug agreement and labor contract.
”Fans are fans. That’s the way it’s supposed to be. He’s their hometown player and it was a wonderful reaction. I wish everybody well,” Selig said.
He spoke to reporters just before Braun’s hit was overturned on replay.
Selig thus far appears to have resisted pleas from owners, including the Brewers’ Mark Attanasio, to stay on the job. Selig became acting commissioner in September 1992 and got the job permanently in July 1998.
”I don’t look at it (as) bittersweet. That’s a decision I’ve made. I’ve done this job now for 23 years,” Selig said. ”My career here in Milwaukee started in 1964. … In life, there is a time to come, but there is also a time to go. I’m proud of what’s going on, what’s happening in baseball.”
Attanasio said before the game he had not been approached by Selig about the possibility of succeeding him in the commissioner’s office. Selig declined comment when asked what qualities his replacement should have.
Selig will have sway on who will be next.
”A fair amount. It’s going to be a very quiet, thoughtful process, sensitive process,” Selig said. ”I just don’t want to comment much on it. It’ll be a fair process, comprehensive process, thorough process.”
He initially planned to watch the Arizona on Monday because he thought his wife would have surgery in the Phoenix area. But once the procedure was called off, Selig said he had no doubts he would be in Milwaukee.
But whether he’ll go back to being a Brewers fan following retirement is uncertain.
”Now, don’t ask me that question,” he said. ”Naturally there’s a great emotional attachment. Walking in today and looking at how excited they were – this is just a great baseball town.”
AP freelance writer Joe Totoraitis contributed to this report.