This won’t end well: Inspired by Mariano Rivera, Bud Selig planning a farewell tour of MLB ballparks
Saying that he reaming completely committed to retiring at the end of the season, Bud Selig told ESPN.com that for his swan song as MLB Commissioner, he is planning a farewell tour of sorts and hopes to visit all thirty major league ballparks before the end of his 23-year tenure as Major League Baseball’s head honcho.
Selig says that he was inspired by how Mariano Rivera went about handling his impending retirement last season and admits that seeing ballpark folks on a day-to-day basis is what he misses most about being an owner (Selig owned the Milwaukee Brewers before becoming the Commish in 1992.
“I like that,” Selig said. “I like talking to people. And … that’s what I want to do: [speak to] season-ticket holders, people who work at ballparks. I just like to walk around and talk to people. I love that. I did that when I ran the Brewers. And I enjoyed it. I miss that.
“Many people ask me, ‘Is there anything you miss [about owning a team]?’ And that’s it. I really miss all that. I knew every vendor. And you knew what they were thinking, too, because they’ll tell you, especially if your team is losing.”
You may recall how Rivera took some time at every major league ballpark the New York Yankees visited last season to hang out with some of the lesser-heralded employees of MLB teams. The ticket sales crew, grounds crew, etc., the “unsung heroes.” who work behind-the-scenes to make sure everything goes as planned.
While Rivera nearly was universally adored by fans, Selig is … not so much. But as time has passed, the views of Selig have changed a bit as fans recognize he was dealt a pretty crappy hand, what with being the commissioner who presided over the “Steroid Era” (although it could be argued that it occurred on his watch and he, unfair or not, ultimately is responsible).
Even Selig understands that the public perception of his tenure is not as harsh as it once was and that there is no way he would have considered a farewell tour of any kind during the rockiest moments of his often-controversial stewardship of the game.
“It would have been an ugly experience,” he said. “If I’d done it in the ’90s, I would have needed nine security people to make sure that I made it out of there.”
That Selig. He’s always been known for his sense of humor. Wait. No he hasn’t. Maybe realizing he’s in the stretch run has lightened his mood. Looking back and taking into account all that his happened during his long tenure, it kind of makes sense.
That alone makes it hardly surprising he’s ready to hang it up.
“It’s 100 percent,” said Selig, who will turn 80 in July. “This is definitely it. I’m more comfortable today than I was when I [announced] it in October, if that’s possible. Jan. 24, 2015, is it. And I’m very comfortable with that. I’m done.”
Here’s looking at you, Bud. Let’s hope he enjoys his farewell tour. Some might say he deserves it.