Whither MKE Cnty: Bud Selig Is A Magnificent Hypocrite

After getting just about everything he damn well wanted from the county for Miller Park, former Milwaukee Brewers owner and current baseball commissioner Bud Selig is raising money to stab the county board in the back:

“…as the Greater Milwaukee Committee mounts a lobbying campaign to pass the measure. An arm of the group called Smart Government Inc. is holding a fundraiser at 5 p.m. Jan. 24 in the office of baseball commissioner Bud Selig on the 30th floor of the U.S. Bank building at 777 E. Wisconsin Ave., according to an invitation.

It is being hosted by a group of Milwaukee business leaders, including retired Northwestern Mutual CEO Ed Zore, Fiduciary Management Executive Chairman Ted Kellner, private investor Sheldon Lubar, Badger Meter President Rich Meeusen and Selig, along with each of their wives..”

And exactly how does Mr. Selig get away with using the commissioners office for an essentially local political function?

And as a footnote: along with each of their wives? What the heck is that? Is the GMC still a 19th century patriarchy?

Ozzie & America’s Pastime

Saying that he “loved” Castro, Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen explained, “I respect Fidel Castro. You know why? A lot of people have wanted to kill Fidel Castro for the last 60 years, but that son of a b—— is still here.”

Ozzie Guillen was suspended for 5 games and forced to apologize for those remarks. America’s game is not so American today. As Dave Zirin points out,

Let’s leave aside the rather glaring irony that the politicians, sports commentators and Cuban exiles want to show their love of freedom by taking Guillen’s job for the crime of exercising free speech. The fact is that when looking for political consistency and clarity, Ozzie Guillen is not the best place to start. The Venezuela-born Guillen’s comments on Castro are not very different from what he has always said about Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. He has made comments very favorable about Chávez and very negative. He said, “Viva Chávez” after his Chicago White Sox won the 2005 World Series. He has also been one of Chávez’s most high-profile critics.

Trying to make sense of Guillen based on public utterances is a fool’s errand. As someone who knows people that talk to Guillen when the cameras are off, I will try to explain his actual politics on Venezuela and Cuba. Guillen is big on a collective Latin American pride and will not abide anti-immigrant and anti-Latino words or deeds. He has a great deal of respect for the way Castro and Chávez stand up to the United States. He opposes efforts by the United States to impose its will on these countries and wishes the rest of Latin America would show similar mettle. It’s not a question of the relative good or bad of Cuba’s internal politics. It’s a question of independence. He’s also as gung-ho for the United States as any manager in baseball, going as far as to fine players for not showing proper respect for the National Anthem, a practice I criticized in 2005. I know that people love portraying Ozzie Guillen as an out-there, crazy kind of guy, and that’s in part because he is an out-there crazy kind of guy. But what’s crazier? Guillen’s views on Cuba or the fact that an aging coterie of people who mourn for the strong hand of Fulgencio Batista control the political debate in South Florida?

MLB and Bud Selig surely must have had no problem with this, especially considering that In 1999 the Baltimore Orioles playedan exhibition game in Cuba right? Not so much:

“Major League Baseball supports today’s decision by the Marlins to suspend Ozzie Guillen. As I have often said, Baseball is a social institution with important social responsibilities. All of our 30 Clubs play significant roles within their local communities, and I expect those who represent Major League Baseball to act with the kind of respect and sensitivity that the game’s many cultures deserve. Mr. Guillen’s remarks, which were offensive to an important part of the Miami community and others throughout the world, have no place in our game.”

Bud Selig is not Mr. Consistency as Ozzie said basically the same thing four years ago.:

I asked him this: “Who’s the toughest man you know?’’

His response, which took me by surprise: “Fidel Castro.’’

Why?

“He’s a bull—- dictator and everybody’s against him, and he still survives, has power. Still has a country behind him,’’ Ozzie replied. “Everywhere he goes, they roll out the red carpet. I don’t admire his philosophy; I admire him.’’

So its ok to say sometimes but not others and politics in baseball are off limits, except of course when they aren’t (as in this example or this one.)

You’ve got to change your evil ways…

Progressive Sports columnist Dave Zirin has a great column in The Nation. Zirin brings us the story of Carlos Santana being asked to speak at baseball\'s civil rights game. Much to Commissioner Bud Selig\'s chagrin,speak he did!

Major League Baseball’s annual Civil Rights Game was poised to be a migraine-inducing exercise in Orwellian irony. Forget about the fact that Civil Rights was to be honored in Atlanta, where fans root for a team called the Braves and cheer in unison with the ubiquitous “tomahawk chop.”

Forget about the fact that the Braves have been embroiled in controversy since pitching coach Roger McDowell aimed violent, homophobic threats at several fans. Forget that this is a team that has done events with Focus on the Family, an organization that is to Civil Rights what Newt Gingrich is to marital fidelity.

The reason Atlanta was such a brutally awkward setting for a Sunday Civil Rights setting, was because Friday saw the Governor of Georgia, Nathan Deal, sign HR 87, a law that shreds the Civil Rights of the state’s Latino population. Modeled after Arizona’s horrific and unconstitutional SB 1070, HR 87 authorizes state and local police the federal powers to demand immigration papers from people they suspect to be undocumented. Those without papers on request will find themselves behind bars. Civil rights hero, Atlanta’s John Lewis has spoken out forcefully against the legislation saying “This is a recipe for discrimination. We’ve come too far to return to the dark past.”

But there was Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig, celebrating civil rights in the Georgia, and chortling excitedly about the 2011 All-Star game in Arizona. In the hands of Selig, irony becomes arsenic. Thank God that Commisioner Selig was stupid enough to choose the Civil Rights Game to honor, among others, the great musician Carlos Santana. Santana was supposed to be the Latino stand-in, a smiling symbol of baseball’s diversity. And maybe, he would even play a song!

But Bud picked the wrong Latino. Carlos Santana took the microphone and said that he was representing all immigrants. Then Santana added, “The people of Arizona, and the people of Atlanta, Georgia, you should be ashamed of yourselves.” In a perfect display of Gov. Nathan Deal’s Georgia, the cheers quickly turned to boos. Yes, Carlos Santana was booed on Civil Rights Day in Atlanta for talking about Civil Rights.

Carlos Santana was not done there, he went to the press box, and continued on:

He said [1], “This law is not correct. It’s a cruel law, actually, This is about fear. Stop shucking and jiving. People are afraid we’re going to steal your job. No we aren’t. You’re not going to change sheets and clean toilets. I would invite all Latin people to do nothing for about two weeks so you can see who really, really is running the economy. Who cleans the sheets? Who cleans the toilets? Who babysits? I am here to give voice to the invisible.”

He went on to say, “Most people at this point they are either afraid to really say what needs to be said, this is the United States the land of the free. If people want the immigration law to keep passing in every state then everybody should get out and just leave the American Indians here. This is about Civil Rights.”

While Bud was sneaking out the back door, Carlos Santana was standing tall! Thanks and way to go!!! It is time for the republican party, Bud Selig, Arizona and Georgia to change their evil ways!

By the way, I recommend Mr. Zirin’s work every week!