By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Nov 20, 2005 at 5:05 AM Photography: Eron Laber

After months of scrutiny, Major League Baseball finally has a steroids policy that makes sense. And like so many other instances in which National Pastime found a way to take a giant step forward, the credit will never find its way to the man who made it possible.

What else will Bud Selig have to do before he finally starts getting some respect? Just what will it take to get self-righteous, pompous blowhards like Bob Costas to just shut up and accept the fact that Selig is doing more as Commissioner than any of his predecessors, save for Kennesaw Mountain Landis.

Weather people want to admit it or not, Selig has done everything in his power -- and then some -- to make the game successful, stronger, and position it for an even more prosperous future.

OK, so the current revenue sharing plan is far from the panacea found in the National Football League's model, and a salary cap is a pipe dream. But you can't argue with facts. The luxury tax -- at times -- has worked. The shared revenue between teams has increased, and a competitive balance is starting to return to MLB.

Idiots who claim to be almighty, holier-than-thou "baseball purists" holler and scream blasphemy at the mere mention of interleague play, but the fact remains that the concept is a huge hit with fans, who have packed ballparks in droves.

Then there's the always touchy issue of realignment and the wild card. Sure, Selig's former team (the Brewers) was the only one to move. But how can these people who admonish every move Selig makes claim the Wild Card has killed the sanctity of the game, yet boast about how great it was to see the Marlins-Cubs series in 2003, or tune in for the annual Yankees-Red Sox playoff installment.

Looks like another argument against Selig flushed down the toilet.

Face it, Selig is the best thing to happen to the game since ... well, now that it looks like the Great Home Run Chase of 1998 was a steroid-enhanced farce ... Cal Ripken breaking Lou Gehrig's streak, or Hank Aaron breaking the home run record.

He's taken a game that is notorious for staying 50 years behind the times, reformatting it, and marketing it to a new generation. The recent steroid debate is a prime example.

In 2003, Selig fought hard to get steroid testing included in a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. He knew he was treading in dangerous waters, having been the guy at the helm when baseball came to a halt in 1994. But he didn't back down.

He knew before the season that changes had to be made to the program and he fought again, finally getting a plan through that was tougher than the original, yet way below the standards others had in mind.

When Congress came calling, he was straightforward and honest. He said he wanted a tougher plan. He outlined it; 50 games out the first time, 100 the second, and hit the road if a player was moronic enough to do it a third time.

Fehr and the players balked. Congress blamed him. Again, Selig played the role of the bad guy, but kept working it. He knew he had to. He knew the game needed it. Now, finally, a "similar" plan has passed and the accolades are being handed out to the players and to Congress for finally doing the right thing.

And nowhere, has anybody seen Selig screaming "it was my idea".

If you've ever read a story on the guy, you'll know right away, he doesn't unilaterally decide to make changes. It's the mark of a good leader. Make a suggestion, ask for other proposals, and then build a consensus. Sounds a lot more democratic than David Stern's iron fisted reign over the NBA, don't you think?

Maybe someday, long after that yokel from Milwaukee has finally been run from office and a guy like Costas has taken over the game, people will finally realize that nobody cared about the game more than Selig.

What's most amazing about Selig is that he doesn't seem to care. Sure, nobody likes to get trashed in the media day in and day out, but how many people would take that kind of abuse and still get the job done.

So go ahead, say what you want. Call him whatever name you want. But find somebody in baseball that's done more.