Royals' success warms outgoing commissioner Selig's heart

Thu Oct 30, 2014 6:54pm EDT
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By Larry Fine

KANSAS CITY Missouri (Reuters) - In a way, it was fitting for Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig's last World Series in charge to finish in Kansas City.

Selig, 80, is ending a 22-year reign as overseer of the game in January, and several of the innovations he instituted paid dividends at the 2014 Fall Classic.

In his early days in charge, small market owners clamored for change, complaining that only a handful of wealthier clubs had a chance to win the World Series.

Selig, who had been owner of the small-market Milwaukee Brewers, leveled the playing field a bit by introducing revenue sharing, luxury tax on the highest-spending clubs and adding wild cards to the playoff format.

All were factors in Kansas City's return to the World Series after a 29-year absence to play fellow wild card San Francisco Giants, who prevailed 4-3 in the best-of-seven championship.

"This is a wonderful story, it really is," Selig told a small group of reporters when asked about the Royals after receiving an honorary Hank Aaron Award before Game Four for his contributions to the game. "You’ve all heard me say how much I believe in the hope and faith theory."

Selig has long stressed that fans need a basis for optimism when spring and a new baseball season roll around.

"The message to me was that 25 teams could not win," he recalled. "This was about 1998.   Continued...

Oct 22, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; MLB commissioner Bud Selig speaks at a press conference before game two of the 2014 World Series between the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports