By Brian Resop
MILWAUKEE – Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig told reporters at the Milwaukee Press Club Wednesday that what everyone is worrying about most — the Milwaukee Brewers leaving town — is the one thing they shouldn’t be worrying about at all.
“Baseball has never broken a lease,” Selig said. “As long as I am commissioner, baseball will not break a lease.”
Selig said that, without the construction of Miller Park, there would be no team in Milwaukee. Because of the park, however, the Brewers will remain in Milwaukee for at least 26 more years — the remaining time left on the lease. In that time, Selig said, the club is sure to create some great memories.
Refuting accusations that the previous owners are walking away rich and leaving the club in debt, Selig said that almost every owner in baseball, especially those in small-markets, are putting more money into the team than they’re receiving as part of revenue sharing.
“That’s about as disingenuous as it gets,” Selig said. “All of these issues have been covered in documents that have been released to the public.”
State Sen. Michael Ellis released a statement today saying the state deserves a piece of the sale price, echoing sentiments he expressed to Milwaukee talk radio. Ellis said the Brewers owe state taxpayers $84.5 million because of the stadium. The state should also be given partial ownership of the team due to the money that it has poured into Miller Park.
“The taxpayers built Miller Park with virtually no cash from the Brewers,” Ellis said. “The new stadium is entirely responsible for the selling price of the team, so the taxpayers deserve their share of the proceeds.”
Selig insisted that the Brewers system will eventually improve the major league club and that the money that new owner Mark Attanasio paid for the team is worth it.
“As the owner of a small market team told me last week, it’s definitely a buyers market right now,” Selig said.
As for the sale of the club, Selig said he cannot disclose any information because he is not directly in control of it. Another club will be officially sold before the Brewers deal is finalized, but Selig did say that he would be very glad when the sale is complete.
“The last few weeks have been the end of a great journey,” Selig said. “Getting a team will be one of my proudest achievements. I will always have a soft spot in my heart for this town.”