So we’re about to have a new commissioner are we? I’m always of two minds about a change like that. It can be good. It can be horrid. I guess we’ll find out soon enough which, if either it turns out to be this time. But first we have to say good-bye to the old commissioner. Here’s a few thoughts on Bud Selig.
First, as with getting a new commissioner, I’m of two minds about the old one. He, like most of us, got some things right. He, like most of us, got some things utterly wrong. In your life you hope the former is true more often than the latter. You also hope that’s true about the commissioner of any sport.
He has three strikes against him that bother me a lot (so technically, I guess he’s out). One is the way the 1994 strike and postseason were completely botched. I’m not sure how much I blame Selig for it, but he’s certainly at least partially responsible. The second is the whole problem with the All Star Game. First there was a tie then to fix that they decided to have the winning league have home field for the World Series. Imagine that. Home field for the World Series is determined by who wins an exhibition game that most managers still treat as an exhibition. Finally, of course there is the whole steroid issue. Selig did a good job of looking like he was out ahead of the game, once it became obvious to we peons that there was a steroid game going on. But he really wasn’t ahead of the game. As far as I can tell he was complicit in the entire thing, at least in the sense of turning a blind eye to it and saying “Don’t tell me. I don’t want to know.” Maybe I’m wrong there, but it’s going to take a lot of effort to convince me otherwise.
So what did he get right? Well, the Major Leagues expanded twice bringing baseball to Colorado, Arizona, and Florida (both Tampa and Miami). Also he facilitated the move from Montreal to Washington. I know that set up the awful problems Miami has, but it did bring baseball back to the nation’s capital, a place where it should be. The expanded playoffs have worked. It’s more exciting coming down the stretch than it used to be (but of course not every year) and more teams make the postseason, which is good for their fan base. I initially thought interleague play was an awful idea. I was wrong. I love watching the Dodgers play the Angels, the two Texas teams take on each other (until Houston moved to the AL), The Cards face the Royals. You also get the Rockies-Twins, but if you do interleague play you have to take the great with the goofy. But mostly, he’s managed to keep labor peace and for that I can forgive a multitude of other sins.
Now Selig rides off into the sunset (as a car dealer I guess he uses an automobile rather than a horse). As with every other commissioner he’s had his warts, but he’s also had his positive actions. I suppose the best thing I can say is that he’s had his moments, some good, some not so good. Adios, Bud.
Tags: Bud Selig