Hands folded, head down, Allan "Bud" Selig had to take a moment to find the proper words.
Milwaukee Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio sat to his right. His wife, Sue, sat across from him. To his right was a framed "1," to signify the number that will be retired in his honor next year.
The Brewers were the team he founded, and he was visiting the stadium he built in his last days as acting commissioner of Major League Baseball on Friday as the Brewers hosted the Cubs.
"I’m usually not speechless," Selig said. "But (it’s) more than I can really articulate. It’s a wonderful honor."
He relived the struggles he faced in bringing baseball back to the Cream City, the two decades of labor peace, noted that he would not reverse any decisions he’s made in his tenure as commissioner – and said that bringing the Brewers to Milwaukee was what he is most proud of.
Attanasio said the Brewers were fortunate that the person responsible for founding the club was still around to be honored, and that the club would look to further commemorate Selig in the future.
"We look for ways to honor him here," Attanasio said. "But for his blood, sweat and tears – as well as his daughter Wendy – we wouldn’t be sitting here. We did a statue out front, but it didn’t seem to be enough, frankly."
Selig was visiting each ballpark in the league and meeting with each organization’s respective front offices, and he’ll be in Boston on Friday before visiting the playoff teams.
"Obviously, this one is particularly sensitive and particularly emotional," Selig said. "And Mark knows how much I appreciate this, and the whole Brewers organization.
"I’m never at a loss for words, but I am right now."
Jim Owczarski is an award-winning sports journalist and comes to Milwaukee by way of the Chicago Sun-Times Media Network.
A three-year Wisconsin resident who has considered Milwaukee a second home for the better part of seven years, he brings to the market experience covering nearly all major and college sports.
To this point in his career, he has been awarded six national Associated Press Sports Editors awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, breaking news and projects. He is also a four-time nominee for the prestigious Peter J. Lisagor Awards for Exemplary Journalism, presented by the Chicago Headline Club, and is a two-time winner for Best Sports Story. He has also won numerous other Illinois Press Association, Illinois Associated Press and Northern Illinois Newspaper Association awards.
Jim's career started in earnest as a North Central College (Naperville, Ill.) senior in 2002 when he received a Richter Fellowship to cover the Chicago White Sox in spring training. He was hired by the Naperville Sun in 2003 and moved on to the Aurora Beacon News in 2007 before joining OnMilwaukee.com.
In that time, he has covered the events, news and personalities that make up the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Hockey League, NCAA football, baseball and men's and women's basketball as well as boxing, mixed martial arts and various U.S. Olympic teams.
Golf aficionados who venture into Illinois have also read Jim in GOLF Chicago Magazine as well as the Chicago District Golfer and Illinois Golfer magazines.