By Jim Caple
Page 2 columnist
His approval ratings might rival Osama bin Laden's, but whether you love him (we know you're out there somewhere) or hate him (a group less exclusive than the Columbia House Record and Tape Club), you have to admit Allan H. Selig keeps persevering despite the criticism.
1. Page 2: What baseball game in history that you didn't see would you most like to go back and see in person?
Bud Selig: Boy, there are so many. I guess "The Shot Heard 'Round the World." I heard that on my little black and gold transistor radio in 1951. That comes to mind immediately, but there's a whole raft of others. I think of the Bill Mazeroski home run. I saw it on television but I would love to have seen it in person.
2. Did you really sell Joe Torre his first car?
Selig: Yes, or at least my firm did. I promised his mother and his brother, Frank, that I would take care of him. And I took care of him for years.
When was the last time you actually sold a car?
Selig: You know, I never actually sold a car. I helped with sales, but the actually selling wasn't my area.
What do you drive now?
But you were a Ford dealer.
Selig: I understand that. And I also sold Chevrolets. I don't know. I guess it was my wife's influence.
3. Having had a month to think it over, would you have handled the All-Star situation any differently, given that it was pretty much dumped in your lap?
Selig: No. That's one thing in the retrospect of history you can look back at, but I did the only thing I could at the time. It broke my heart. When Sandy Alderson came to see me in the last of the 10th or the top of the 11th, he said, "I've got tough news for you. This game has to end." I said, "What?" I was stunned. I only had a minute or two to make a decision, and he swiftly reviewed all of my options. Sandy had talked to Joe Torre, and I said, "I want to see both managers." I could see the look on their faces. They were done. I was very troubled by the Philadelphia pitcher Vicente Padilla and his condition. The umpire, Gerry Davis, came over and said, "The pitcher is having trouble getting loose."
That was very sad. I didn't want it to happen, but I didn't want to risk a home run hitting contest. Some writers said I should have told the managers, "You got me into this mess, now get me out of it." But that sort of thing would have led to position players pitching, and if someone had gone out there and gotten hurt or the game turns into a travesty with 10 runs scoring ... all that just crossed my mind. It was very painful.
But I have a lot of ideas for the All-Star Game, and what we should do. I won't go into them, but we need to go back to the way the All-Star Game was played. Pitchers pitching longer.
Trying to win the game?
4. Do you like stadium sauce or stadium mustard on your bratwurst?
Selig: Actually, stadium mustard.
That's surprising. You're a big ketchup guy, aren't you?
Selig: I'm a huge ketchup guy. But I love stadium mustard. I put ketchup on it, too.
I'm told you'll put ketchup on a plain bun and eat it that way.
Selig: Well, not really. But I love ketchup. I eat ketchup on a fair number of things.
5. You're a history buff. What book are you reading right now?
Selig: Robert Caro's biography on Lyndon Johnson, "Master of the Senate." It's wonderful. It's a long book, and I can't read that much because I've been so busy with everything, but I read a little bit every night.
Do you identify with LBJ at all?
Selig: No, but I have great respect for his ability in the Senate. Talk about developing a consensus, and that's what I try to do.
6. Which historic figure do you admire the most?
Selig: Well, there's a fair number. I read the John Adams book last year and was so impressed with the courage of those people -- writing the Constitution and what they had to go through. It's not my favorite period of history, but the more you read about Jefferson and Adams, they were an amazing group of people who really gave of themselves, and their vision was stunning.
But when all is said and done, I'll go back to Franklin Roosevelt and Truman. FDR took a lot of abuse. They were always on him.
7. How much do you tip?
Selig: Twenty percent.
Do you tip the maid?
8. What's your favorite baseball movie?
Selig: I have a fair amount of them. I love the Lou Gehrig story. I love "The Natural." I really like that movie. I've watched the movie so many times, every time I watch it, my wife says, "Oh, not that movie again." But you know why I like it? It makes me feel, this is what the game is all about.
9. Which superpower would you most like to have: the strength of 100 men, the ability to turn invisible or the ability to fly?
Selig: Hmm. The ability to fly or turn invisible -- there are some days I would like to do that -- or the strength of a 100 men. I'll have to think about that, but I suppose turning invisible. But upon reflection, I might change.
10. To solve baseball's problems, would you be willing to go against Don Fehr in a sausage race, winner takes all?
Selig: No. we're going to have to solve it a logical way. And I don't think Don or I want to run a sausage race. That's one temptation I've never had. Although a lot of people have. Dan Patrick did it. But I am not going to run the sausage race.