PHOENIX -- It couldn't have been a better evening for Commissioner Bud Selig. Prince Fielder, the first baseman for his beloved Brewers, was named the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player in his adopted second home.
It was an unusual All-Star Game for the ninth Commissioner of Major League Baseball, who was born and raised in Milwaukee and owned and operated the Brewers from 1970 until he took his current post on an interim basis in September 1992. A winter inhabitant of nearby Scottsdale, Ariz., Selig was gushing about this year's All-Star experience both before and after Tuesday's game, a 5-1 National League victory over the Americans.
"The thing I liked right off the bat is that I went home. I didn't have to go to a hotel," Selig said prior to the game. "Really, it's been great here and I'm proud of [the D-backs]. I know they've worked hard and people were worried about the heat and this and that, but we play here all summer. Look, it isn't going to be cold in Kansas City [for the All-Star Game] next year, I can tell you that right now."
And after handing the MVP trophy to Fielder, who became the first Brewer to take home that hardware after his three-run, fourth-inning homer was also the first home run by a Brewer in All-Star Game history?
"I enjoyed tonight," Selig said. "It's been great. It's been a fun two or three days. It's been wonderful here and they've done a great job. Very fulfilling. It surpassed my expectations. It really did. I must say they did a brilliant job here. [D-backs president] Derrick Hall and [managing partner] Ken Kendrick deserve all the credit."
The five days of activities were the result of five years of painstaking lobbying by Kendrick and Hall to procure the All-Star Game and festivities for the local community. It was the first time in the 14-year history of the franchise that the team had hosted the Midsummer Classic. Hall has acknowledged that all the pieces came together this year.
"And to be truthful, five years ago we may not have been ready for it," Hall said recently. "But we were now."
The week was filled with the usual on-field events that drew more 100,000 fans to Chase Field and better than 110,000 to FanFest at the nearby Phoenix Convention Center. But Selig said he also was moved by the community events he took part in on Monday.
"The events have been phenomenal and I've been to a lot of them," he said. "We went to the Boys & Girls Club and then we went to a school for blind, young children. It's one of the most emotional experiences I've ever had. I must tell you that when I left there I was just heartsick. They've done such brilliant work. We gave them $1 million yesterday. I wish we could do more. If you saw these kids and what they've done as a result of this, they were born blind in most cases. ... The Boys & Girls Club was emotional, but this was something I've never been to before."
Wrapping it up, Selig headed back to Milwaukee and on to the next baseball event.
"Now we're back to the regular season," he said. "But it was great."
Barry M. Bloom is national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.