Former Major League Baseball Commissioner and Distinguished Professor of Sports in America at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, Allan H. (Bud) Selig will have a public fireside chat and book signing at ASU Law to launch his new book “For the Good of the Game: The Inside Story of the Surprising and Dramatic Transformation of Major League Baseball.” At a special event taking place Thursday, Sept. 12, Selig will share insider information about one of the most dramatic periods in the history of Major League Baseball.
For more than a century, the game of baseball was resistant to change — owners, managers, players, fans all were against it. No one knew this better than Bud Selig, who, as the game’s ninth commissioner and the head of MLB for more than 20 years, brought about more change during his tenure than his eight predecessors combined. He ushered in some of the most important, and controversial, changes in the game’s history — modernizing a sport that that had remained virtually unchanged since the 1950s.
In his book, Selig goes inside the most difficult decisions and moments of his career, looking at how he worked to balance baseball’s storied history with the pressures of the 21st century to ensure its future. Part baseball story, part business saga and part memoir, “For the Good of the Game” chronicles Selig’s career, takes fans inside locker rooms and board rooms and offers an intimate, fascinating account of the process involved in transforming an American institution.
Impacting future legal professionals
In 2016, the commissioner was named the O’Connor Distinguished Professor of Sports in America and joined ASU Law’s Sports Law and Business program, where he has taught and served as the founding president of the Sports Law and Business Advisory Board for the past several years.
ASU Law Dean Douglas Sylvester said Selig’s presence with the law school and its students has been invaluable.
“Our students have been fortunate to have gained vital insight from a legendary figure within the sports industry,” Dean Sylvester said. “As a long-time sports executive, our students have benefitted greatly from his vast sports administration experience and we are grateful for his dedication to our program.”
While at ASU Law, the commissioner helped to select two Selig Sports Law and Business Scholars — one from the incoming Juris Doctor (JD) class and another from the Master of Sports Law and Business (MSLB) program.
This year, current second year JD student Jada Allender and Heather Udowitch, who will begin the MSLB program next spring, were selected. Both are humbled and grateful for being selected as a Selig Scholar.
“Commisioner Selig, thank you for supporting the students of this school and for supporting me in particular. Your contributions make such a huge difference,” Allender said. “My experience at ASU Law has been the most I’ve ever been challenged academically in my life. The course material and professors, including Commissioner Selig, push us to learn and think in new ways and make us work hard to really excel.”
Udowitch is looking forward to pursuing a career in sports administration, but first is thankful for the opportunity to study at ASU Law.
“If I could say one thing to Commissioner Selig and his family, I would express my gratitude for their kindness. Through this scholarship, I can focus on my education and not on student loans,” Udowitch said. “I am extremely thankful and honored to be one of the recipients of such a prestigious scholarship. It is motivating to further my academic career with this support, and I hope that one day I am in a similar role to help others.”
Impacting the game
During this week’s book launch event at ASU Law, the commissioner will be interviewed by Todd Walsh, an Emmy-Award winning host and reporter for FOX Sports Arizona.
“I found his book to be a fascinating account of some of the most critical moments in recent baseball history,” Walsh said. “He pulls no punches and has amazing recall of events that changed the sport as we know it. I think we will find out together that evening that there are more than a few local connections to his story, and the story of baseball in the state of Arizona.”
The evening will also feature remarks from Joe Garagiola Jr., special adviser to the Arizona Diamondbacks president and CEO, and Caleb Jay, general counsel for the Arizona Diamondbacks and a faculty associate for ASU Law since 2011.
“I consider the commissioner a friend and I appreciate how he always spoke of the importance of fans having faith and hope at the start of the season, and emphasized the importance of that to those of us in the game,” Garagiola Jr. recalled. “As to his impact, so many of the things we take for granted now as part of the sport were things he pushed for, often in the face of strong initial opposition. He led the way into an era of labor peace, after what had been, to be charitable, a dismal period of labor strife. I will most remember his true passion and love for the game.”
The public is invited to attend “A Conversation with Allan ‘Bud’ Selig” on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Beus Center for Law and Society located at 111 E. Taylor St. in Phoenix. Copies of Selig’s book will be available for purchase at the event, and a signing opportunity will be available. There will also be a special announcement that showcases the incredible impact Selig has made to ASU Law and its Sports Law and Business program.
The event is free, but advance registration is required.