For the Good of the Game: The Inside Story of the Surprising and Dramatic Transformation of Major League Baseball was written by Bud Selig, the longtime Commissioner of Major League Baseball. Did Selig provide an unprecedented look inside professional baseball? Did Selig discuss how he helped bring the game into the modern age? Let’s see what Shaq says:
RICK “SHAQ” GOLDSTEIN SAYS: I WAS SHOCKED… HOW GOOD THIS WAS… NO HOLDS BARRED… FROM THE HEART… NOT THE MILD MANNERED BUD SELIG… I THOUGHT I KNEW!
If you’re a long standing baseball fan… and thought you knew Bud Selig… I guarantee you… you don’t… until you read this book. Sure he was Commissioner of Baseball from 1992-2015 (the first seven years in an acting capacity)… and before that… owner of the Milwaukee Brewers… and if you go back to his childhood… you will find that he loved baseball.. like the most passionate among us.
The son of Jewish immigrants… his Father born in Romania and his Mother born in Russian Ukraine… they were a first generation baseball loving family… who settled in Milwaukee. Young Bud… lived and breathed baseball… and believe it or not… his Mother Marie… was as big a fan as her son. They went to minor league games together before there was any Major League team in the area. And of course they felt they were blessed from heaven… when the Milwaukee Braves moved to town from Boston. When the Braves left for Atlanta Selig was crushed. This not only led him to becoming an owner… but forever weighed deeply in his heart when making decisions years later as the Commissioner of Baseball.
How baseball crazy was Bud’s Mother?? For his fifteenth birthday she took him to New York to see the New York Giants play at the Polo Grounds… the Brooklyn Dodgers… play at Ebbets Field… and the Yankees play at Yankee Stadium. They also went to Boston to see a game at Fenway Park… but it was sold out and they couldn’t get a ticket. Years later… and a lifetime of experience… Selig took his Mother to a game at Fenway… as the owner of the team playing the Red Sox that day… the Milwaukee Brewers. Talk about a dream coming true… how sweet is that storybook chapter??!!
Along with that fairy-tale come true life story… the baseball fan reader will be mesmerized… when seemingly mild-mannered public figure Selig… swings for the fences… with the unvarnished truth… about the steroid era that truly stained baseball… and is still darkened by the incredulity of the non-human statistics that were falsely attained. Also… what should be the most celebrated date of each baseball year… the announcement of the new Hall of Fame recipients… is totally marred… and disgraced… devalued… and literally leaves old-school fans holding their breath… and crossing their fingers… that one of these deceitful cheats don’t get elected.
To Bud Selig’s undying credit… he doesn’t hide the fact that he doesn’t like Barry Bonds… the person… or the player. One of the most important facts that any reader should take away from this book… (along with thinking more highly of Mr. Selig)… is that besides the individual weak… cheating… lying… players… that demeaned the history of baseball… by taking P.E.D.’s… is the fact that the PLAYERS UNION fought… and fought… and fought… to not allow drug testing of the players.
Bud Selig and the owners fought this for years and years. The simplest of questions is… if you have nothing to hide… what are you afraid of? The union for years hid behind civil liberties claims. The congressional hearings made a joke out of the likes of McGwire… (“I don’t want to talk about the past.”)… Sosa (who all of a sudden couldn’t speak or understand English)… Clemens (must have “misremembered”)… Palmeiro (wagging his finger… and saying he never cheated.)… and all the while Selig was fighting the union to have drug testing.
Then of course we have the multiple cheating… lies… mea culpa’s of drug cheat Alex Rodriguez… who in addition to his repetitive lies… sued everyone in sight… from Major League Baseball… to incredibly… the Players Association… who protected him for so many years. Selig’s involvement in giving the go ahead to the Mitchell Investigation / Report… showed he wanted to get the truth to the public. Then there was the Balco scandal… the Biogenesis Scandal.. and more. The first hand scandals that hit even closer to home for Selig with Brewer’s icons Paul Molitor and Ryan Braun… and Braun’s cheating was magnified by his bold outright lies when first caught… and then he got busted again.
While drug abuse rocked the baseball world and landed firmly on Selig’s shoulders… he continued to build baseball to record growths… despite drugs… strikes… and scandals… (a little different than sex… drugs… and rock and roll). He knew how important new stadiums were to the health and growth of baseball… and record numbers of new stadiums were built during his tenure. The value of teams skyrocketed. An example is when the O’Malley’s sold the Dodgers in 1998 for $311 Million… and in 2012 McCourt sold the Dodgers for $2.15 BILLION! This book is enlightening… and surprising… did you know that Major League Baseball had an opportunity to buy controlling interest in ESPN in the early eighties… but then commissioner Bowie Kuhn turned it down? And see if you don’t change your pre-conditioned view of mild-mannered Bud Selig after this story:
In 1995, during a dispute between MLB and the Players Association after previous strikes and threats by the union bosses… President Clinton got involved and made promises regarding mediation… when Clinton reneged on a promise Selig said: “Mr. President sir, you gave me your word on October 14, I said. I have twenty-eight clubs. You know this. You talked to David Glass. This is not what we agreed on. What if I had been the one who didn’t agree?”
“The door opened and Gore, Stephanopoulos, Panetta and Reich walked in. Clinton had to be relieved to have reinforcements, because he wasn’t doing well in this conversation. Clinton said he knew he’d given me his word. I told him I’d been raised in a world where when a man gives you his word, that’s it. He went quiet.
But Gore jumped in, nasty form the start. “I’m tired of the little guys,” he said, and I knew he meant the small-market clubs. “All these demands. Complaining about everything.” Well, that explained a lot. He was uttering the union’s talking points.
“IT WAS THE WRONG THING TO SAY TO ME. RAGE CAME POURING OUT OF ME. I EXPLODED IN HIS FACE. “WHAT DID YOU JUST F**** SAY TO ME?” I SNAPPED AT THE VP, YOU’RE TIRED? YOU’RE TIRED? YOU GUYS GAVE ME YOUR WORD! YOU’RE TIRED? BECAUSE THEY DIDN’T LIKE THIS?” “
I was just getting started,”
“Well, there are a thousand F*** newspaper guys out there, and I’m going to go and tell them that, by G-d, this thing got worse because we agreed to this process and you backed out, “ I said. “NOW WHAT THE F*** DO SAY?
“Gore turned red. And Mute.”
Definitely not the meek… mild mannered… Bud Selig you and I have envisioned all these years. You will learn in this book… that his lifetime unfettered love for baseball… his rise to owner… to commissioner… and his non-stop fight for revenue sharing to protect the small markets… his uphill battle against the unions… his vision of new ballparks… increased teams in the playoffs… his acceptance and utilization of high tech methods… that he himself never touched… added billions to the game he so truly loves.
How does Bud himself sum up his life… and if you read this book… you will have no doubt… that it couldn’t be summed up any better…
“WHAT YOU’VE SEEN IN MY CAREER IS THE STORY OF A LITTLE BOY’S DREAMS THAT CAME TRUE!”
AMEN! I COULDN’T AGREE MORE!
Amazon: For the Good of the Game
Reviewer: Rick “Shaq” Goldstein