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10/05/08 3:25 PM ET
Selig 'emotional' over fans' response
Throwing first pitch, Commissioner greeted by thunderous ovation
By Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com
MILWAUKEE -- Thunderous applause from a sellout Miller Park crowd greeted Commissioner Bud Selig as he strode from the first base dugout to the mound Sunday to throw out the first pitch before Game 4 of the National League Division Series between the Brewers and Phillies. The roars grew as the founding owner of the Brewers made his way toward the mound, and reached a crescendo when the Commissioner raised his arms above his head to acknowledge the warm reception. "This was very emotional," Selig said afterward. "Extremely emotional." Selig stepped to the grass in front of the mound and tossed a pitch to Brewers backup catcher Mike Rivera, who turned the inside of his glove up to catch it as the ball sailed on an arc toward the plate. With that, the crowd roared again and Selig raised both of his arms in triumph, giving high fives to current Brewers owner Mark Attanasio and others as he gratefully strode off the field.
Selig was accompanied by his wife, Sue, and Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle. "Hank Aaron once told me that the key to this is to stand in front of the mound about 40 feet away and let it rip," Selig said. "I was intent on not bouncing it like [Bob] Uecker did yesterday." Uecker, the club's legendary play-by-play radio announcer, threw out the first pitch Saturday before Milwaukee's first home playoff game since Game 5 of the 1982 World Series. The Brewers won, 4-1, narrowing the Phillies' lead in the best-of-five series to 2-1. Selig said he wasn't exactly nervous on Sunday, but the adrenaline certainly was pumping. "It's something to be out there and do that in front of all these people," he said. "It was a terrific experience." Selig attended both Brewers home playoff games this weekend and said he's been moved by the response of fans as he's walked around the park that opened in 2001. Selig was one of two people to toss out the first pitch during Miller Park's inaugural opener that season. The other was President George W. Bush, a former managing general partner of the Texas Rangers, who had been elected to the nation's highest office only five months earlier.
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.