Centuries ago, when Glen Gardner and I were holding forth during the morning drive time on a certain local AM radio station, we’d often ask the question of our listeners: statue-worthy….or not? Barry Alvarez was the measuring-stick. His bronze likeness went up in the Kellner Plaza at Camp Randall Stadium in October of ’06. It’s a fine tribute to the man who is the most successful coach the UW football team ever had.
On the other end of the statue spectrum, there’s that horrid and revolting thing out in front of the stadium.
I still think that if I could get enough fire-water into my pal Doug Moe, I could convince him to assist me in tying one end of a rope to that abomination, and the other to my huge gas-sucking all-wheel-drive SUV, and we’d pull that ugly thing down and drag it down Monroe Street and through campus.
With a stop at the Big Ten Pub and every other watering hole along the way.
Using Barry Alvarez as the standard, Glen and I would throw out names to the listeners and ask them to respond to the statue-worthy-or-not query. Bret Bielema? Jury’s still out. Bo Ryan? You bet. Jeff Sauer? For sure. Mark Johnson? Why not. You get the idea.
So when I heard the Brewers were putting up a statue of Bud Selig at Home Plate Plaza at Miller Park, I was deeply conflicted. Selig – Mr. Magoo – up there next to the statues of Hank Aaron and Robin Yount? I don’t think so. A seven-foot bronze statue on a base, designed by the same guy who did the Aaron and Yount statues? Some fans will revere the statue; I’m afraid others, like me, might be tempted to use it as a depository for used beer – if you know what I mean.
There’s no question Bud Selig is the reason the Brewers are in Milwaukee; and there’s no question he was right there with Tommy Thompson, pushing the rock up the hill to get Miller Park built.
But he’s is the same guy who ruined the ’94 baseball season; who let the 2002 All-Star game at Miller Park end in a 7-7 tie; who turned his head the other way when it was obvious that guys like Sosa and McGuire were juiced to the hilt; and who, as far as I’m concerned, has FAILED as Commissioner of Baseball.
Come to think of it, he wasn’t much of a leader as a franchise-owner, either – even though his daughter Wendy was theoretically in charge of the team. Mark Attanasio put his money where his mouth is, and I’m pretty sure when his tenure as owner ends, he’ll be statue-worthy.
While I’m on a roll here – the Kohl Center is one of the classiest acts of all when it comes to public art. The Dale Chihuly “Mendota Wall” that circles the wall of the Kohl Center when you walk in, is world-class art. And the new light sculptures called the “Kohl Center Promenade” that UW art professors Steve Feren and Gail Simpson did, are interesting, dynamic, and tasteful – a great example of public art.
But a statue of Bud Selig alongside Hammerin’ Hank and Rockin’ Robin – I don’t think so.