Selig means it when he says he's retiring
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- This time, Commissioner Bud Selig is serious.
This time, he's retiring next January.
"I am committed to the decision," Selig said. "Even Sue [Selig's wife] believes me finally."
And that, in and of itself, says plenty.
Selig became Commissioner on an interim basis after replacing Fay Vincent in September 1992. Selig said he wouldn't accept the job on a full-time basis, but Sue wasn't buying it.
She was right. Five years and 10 months later on July 9, 1998, Selig's fellow owners convinced him to accept the Commissioner's job.
Twice, Selig said he was retiring, but then inked extensions at the behest of the owners. In January 2012, he accepted an extension through January 2015, announcing that he would retire at the end of the deal.
And this time, Selig is serious about retiring. There are no second thoughts this time around.
Selig shows no signs of slowing down, but he will turn 80 on July 30, and there are a few things he'd like to dabble with. He has been teaching sports law and policy at Marquette University Law School since 2009, and he's getting ready to also teach a class at his alma mater, the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Selig is even entertaining the idea of teaching a class at Arizona State University, near the winter home he and Sue maintain in Scottsdale.
And then there's an autobiography that Selig will most likely write himself.
Now, it's not like Selig will leave baseball cold turkey. It is, after all, a passion of his, along with history. Selig was a diehard Milwaukee Braves fan who was so distraught when the Braves moved to Atlanta that he organized a group in 1970 that purchased the expansion Seattle Pilots out of bankruptcy court and transformed them into the Milwaukee Brewers.
He had to divest his interest in the Brewers when he became Commissioner, but his passion for baseball is every bit as strong as his passion for Milwaukee.
Selig doesn't see any value in rehashing the retirement decisions. He knows there will be doubters until the day he's no longer in charge.
The time, however, is right for Selig to move on. The game is in better shape than it was the day he took office -- arguably the best shape it has ever been in.
So what is there for Selig to gain by hanging around past next January? His resume already is impressive, as the game's second-longest-serving Commissioner behind Kenesaw Mountain Landis.
Under Selig's guidance, Major League Baseball added the Wild Card, began Interleague Play, merged the offices of the American and National Leagues, adopted a revenue-sharing plan that small-market teams claim has been their salvation, took the lead in digital technology with the formation of MLB Advanced Media and has presided over a 400 percent increase in the game's revenue. He has also overseen the implentation of an expanded replay system that will go into effect this season.
Selig has built a resume that has many feeling he's been the most impactful Commissioner in history. It's not like he has a whole lot more to do.
It's time for a new set of eyes to look at the game. Selig knows that.
That's why he knows that this time he's not crying wolf. He's stating a fact.
He will retire at the end of his current term.
Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.