Howard Bryant of ESPN has a story up about Bud Selig, whom he interviewed in Tempe recently, where Selig teaches a course at the Arizona State University Law School. There are two notable nuggets in there and one bit of non-news that remains frustrating as all get-out about Selig.
Nugget 1: He thinks Marvin Miller should be in the Hall of Fame:
“A lot of people think it’s an unpopular opinion, but I think Marvin Miller belongs in the Hall of Fame too. There were so many battles … but if you make a significant contribution, you belong, and no matter how you felt about him, you cannot say Marvin Miller did not make a contribution,” Selig says of the longtime union executive.
If Selig has stumped for Miller in the past I am unaware of it and can find no reference to it. Notably, Selig was on the board of the Hall of Fame and had a strong voice in the formation of the various Veterans Committees who passed on Miller on multiple occasions. A lot of people, this author included, suspects that Selig and the members of the Hall of Fame board on which he once sat have a large amount of influence on the Veterans Committee vote. The execs friendly to MLB always tend to sail in, after all. One wonders if Selig had said this much about Miller in public in the past if things would’ve gone differently for him.
Nugget 2: Selig thinks that leaders should not treat the press as an enemy:
“Yes, we’ve had our disagreements, but I tell this to the students: You have a job to do, and I have a job to do,” Selig says. “I listen to Donald Trump again, and it’s discouraging, because this idea about [the media] being your enemy is just nonsense. We can have disagreements. It really is nonsense.”
Selig was never anything like Trump with respect to the media, but he was well-known, as Bryant notes, for calling up and haranguing reporters and columnists who pissed him off. Personally I think there is something cool about that — Selig cared, at least — but he was also well-known for engaging in a lot of reality-creation. One might call him an early adherent to the notion of “alternative facts.”
The non-news has to do with alternative facts too: as Bryant notes, Selig still believes that the owners and the league bear no responsibility for PEDs. Which, hey, if you want to believe that players were 100% responsible for taking PEDs, fine, I’ll give you that one for the sake of argument. More egregious is how he takes full credit for the advent of drug testing and enforcement, dismissing the notion that that public and Congressional pressure and a series of very public humiliations of the game forced his hand.
Everyone, to some degree, changes perspective about certain things in their 80s. Some things that once seemed important are no longer important and some things that one overlooked or disdained as a young man are now thought of in a different light.
But not everything, I suppose.