The former Brewers owner, now in his 19th season as commissioner, was honored with a statue at Miller Park on Aug. 24
Dan Patrick:Did you have approval on the statue?
Bud Selig: As the sculptor worked, he did send me pictures from time to time. So that approval I had.
DP:There was no truth to the rumor that it was going to look like the statue of David?
BS: No, it worked out great. It was a day I'll never forget.
DP:What were your thoughts when you found out they wanted to put up the statue?
BS: I must confess that the last three weeks, my daughter Wendy said that she had never quite seen me like that. Usually, Dan, I stay focused, worry about what the day's events are. But I must admit, this brought back 50 years of memories.
DP:What's left on the to-do list as commissioner?
BS: Number 1, I want to keep us moving in the right direction. We've had labor peace for 16 years—or it will be 16 years when [the current CBA expires in 2011]—which nobody ever believed possible, including me. [And there's] the internationalization of the sport. We were a little slow to start; I would accept that as valid criticism. We need to really step it up. We're big in Japan, we're huge in Korea, we've opened an office in China. We're great in Central America, Latin America, we have interests in Europe now. I think the game has enormous potential.
DP:Will we get to a true World Series?
BS: I hope so. That's my dream. The Japanese commissioner and I have had two meetings this year on that subject. There's a lot of road to walk for both of us.
DP:What kind of time frame?
BS: I don't think it will happen while I'm the commissioner—though a lot of people don't believe I'll leave in 2½ years, I have plans to do that.
DP:Do you expect to be called to testify in the Roger Clemens trial?
BS: No. I'm sure not.
DP:What about the Barry Bonds trial?
BS: No. I'm sure not. Look, I'm not a lawyer, but those are cases between those people and the government and really have nothing to do anymore with baseball.
DP:You've got both trials next April, right around Opening Day. You've got to have mixed feelings about that.
BS: I have very strong feelings on the subject. I now feel that people are still sort of living in the past. I can't tell you I'm not saddened by the Clemens situation, or the Bonds situation.
DP:Is the pitching dominance we're seeing this year a coincidence, or does it have something to do with fewer hitters on steroids?
BS: Whether it is or not, I don't know.
DP:As commissioner you've got to look at the numbers.
BS: I've talked to a lot of people, and everybody has a different theory. It's not only this year, it's the last two or three years. I do think, however, that clubs have concentrated on pitching. I get different answers from different general managers and managers. The fact of the matter is, the game has never been cleaner than it is today. Yes, we need a test for human growth hormone, but all sports are looking for that. Other than that ... Dan, [until 2003] this sport never had a drug-testing program, even during the cocaine era of the '80s, which was probably more pervasive than steroids. And I don't hear anybody ever talk about that.
• Strong Hold
Doug Flutie said that if Reggie Bush returns the Heisman he won in 2005, as new USC athletic director Pat Haden called on Bush to do, Flutie would favor a revote. (If that were to happen, he said he'd vote to give it to Vince Young, who was the runner-up.) But Flutie (above), who won the award in 1984 at Boston College, told me he'd be surprised if Bush parted with the trophy. "I'd have both arms wrapped around the Heisman and [be] hiding it before I'd give it up," Flutie said.
Cal Ripken isn't ready to write off the Padres in the National League just because of their current losing streak, which reached 10 games on Sunday. In 1983, the only season Ripken won the World Series, his Orioles twice went seven games without a victory. "Good teams know how to minimize [the impact of] their losing streaks, not let them build up to something greater," he said. "You just try to put it in perspective and say, 'We're all going to go through a losing streak, this is just ours.'"
• Line of the week
Sam Bradford leaves big shoes to fill. Asked what new Oklahoma QB Landry Jones (above) does better than Bradford, Sooners coach Bob Stoops said, "Grows a mustache."
THE FINE PRINT: Washington's Husky Stadium will undergo a $250 million renovation. They're going to widen the seats and change the name to Portly Stadium.
Now Hear This
Listen to the podcasts at danpatrick.com/interviews
1. Former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach on his NFL future.
2. UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel talks early-season scheduling.
MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II/1DEUCE3 PHOTOGRAPHY (PATRICK)
TONY TOMSIC (FLUTIE)
TIM HEITMAN/US PRESSWIRE (JONES)
RAY TAMARRA/GETTY IMAGES (SELIG)