Baseball Advanced Media

Bud Selig: Ready to play ball

April 1, 2011: 5:00 AM ET

Major League Baseball's commissioner on the Mets and Madoff, Pete Rose, and labor problems inĀ  other leagues.

Interview by David A. Kaplan, contributor

Bud Selig at the Maryvale Baseball Park in Phoenix during spring training

FORTUNE -- Opening day is upon us, and with it the dreams of summer. Allan H. "Bud" Selig, 76, can't wait. He's been commissioner of baseball for 19 years, and he still rejoices in the rites of that first pitch. He's also pretty happy with the state of Major League Baseball: Revenue last year was a record $7 billion, up from $1.2 billion when he began. There's labor peace, and steroid scandals seem to have abated. What's left to worry about? For starters, the mess the New York Mets are in over the Madoff fraud -- its owners are being sued for $1 billion by the trustee representing the victims. Fortune talked by phone to Selig in his Milwaukee office. Edited excerpts:

Do you wish you had disclosed MLB's $25 million loan to the Mets sooner?

No. I've known [owner] Fred Wilpon for 32, 33 years and have great affection for his family. I'd do it the same way again. There was precedent.

Are press reports correct there won't be any more loans to the Mets?

Fred gives me daily updates, but that matter has not been discussed.

Does that mean that a request for another loan from MLB would automatically be rejected?

No. More

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