Witnessing celebration around him, MLB Commissioner happy for the sport
BOSTON -- Commissioner Bud Selig presented the World Series trophy to the Red Sox. Then he presented the Most Valuable Player Award to David Ortiz. And then, as Selig walked across the Fenway Park grass, his joy reflected that of the sellout crowd that was celebrating all around him.
It wasn't because Boston completed a remarkable worst-to-first turnaround by winning its third World Series championship in the last 10 seasons; the Commissioner doesn't root for teams. Selig roots for the sport, and he found a lot to be happy about in the 109th Fall Classic.
"It was a great World Series -- drama, excitement," Selig said. "I often say that I think baseball is a social institution. But you saw it. You saw it in Boston and you saw it in St. Louis. It's been remarkable for me and remarkable for the sport. I just can't tell you how proud I am of everybody involved."
A bond between a city and its baseball team that was already unbreakable became even firmer in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings in April. The Red Sox were quick to show support. What quickly became known as "Boston Strong" was adapted as a rallying cry.
For the first time in 14 years, the World Series matched the teams with the best records in their respective leagues. Pitching dominated. One game ended with St. Louis scoring the winning run on a controversial obstruction call, although in the end, most agreed that the umpires got it right. Another game ended with a Cardinals runner picked off first base, with the dangerous Carlos Beltran -- representing the tying run -- standing at the plate.
What the Series lacked in style points, it made up for in charm.
"There was something about it, even with the things that were unexpected," Selig said. "It was just great."
What was the Commissioner's favorite moment?
"The whole series," Selig said. "Watching this crowd the last three innings, knowing their level of excitement. And the Cardinals were a very worthy foe. You know, it's two great baseball towns, and I have so much respect for both organizations. It's been a great series for the sport."
It's been a busy year for Selig. Major League Baseball is working hard to make sure that expanded replay is in place for the 2014 season. The Commissioner suspended 13 players in August for their connection with the Biogenesis scandal. One, Alex Rodriguez, has filed an appeal that has occasionally turned acrimonious.
Selig is pleased overall with the 2013 season.
"Another great attendance year," Selig said earlier in the series. "We went over 74 million, which five or 10 years ago, I would have been dancing on the table. Attendance is good, revenues are good. BAM [Major League Baseball Advanced Media], the [MLB] Network ... I'm really comfortable and proud with where we are."