Posts Tagged ‘Bud Selig’

The Class of 2017

January 18, 2017

According to MLB.com the BBWAA has elected Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, and Ivan Rodriguez to the Hall of Fame. They will enter the Hall along with Bud Selig and John Schuerholz as the Class of 2017. Trevor Hoffman and Vlad Guerrero came closest to election without making it.  Comments to follow.

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Good Bye to 2016

December 29, 2016
Hopefully I won't have to be this old before the Dodgers win

Hopefully I won’t have to be this old before the Dodgers win

Another baseball season is over. The winners are crowned, the loser mourned. The postseason awards are announced, the winter meetings are through, and the Veteran’s Committee has spoken. Here, in my usual nine things for nine innings format, are a few random thoughts on what we saw (and didn’t see) in 2016.

1. The Cubs finally won. It hadn’t happened in 108 years and the Cubs fans are joyous. But I wonder if some of the mystique that surrounded the Cubs wasn’t harmed. The “loveable loser” moniker is gone, as is the “sit in the sun, drink beer, and don’t worry about the score” motif of Cubsdom is over. Will it hurt the overall fan base, or not. I have no idea.

2. Can the Angels find a pitcher? They have Mike Trout, arguably the best player in the Major Leagues in a long time. They have Albert Pujols, a shadow of what he was at St. Louis, but still a formidable player (He had 119 RBIs and needs nine homers for 600). C. J. Cron is 26 and Kole Calhoun is 29. And they still can’t win. Maybe the problem is the staff, maybe it’s the coaching staff (Scioscia hasn’t led them very far in a while), but they just don’t win.

3. Sticking with the West Coast, but moving to Chavez Ravine, we say good-bye to Vin Scully who, for 67 years, graced us with his voice, his wit, his stories. I liked Jack Buck and Dizzy Dean. I liked Bob Prince and Russ Hodges, but there was only one Vin. Maybe he’ll be the first broadcaster elected to the Hall of Fame itself, not just to the broadcasters niche. And the Dodgers answered the question, “who needs an ace?” by rattling off a ton of wins with Clayton Kershaw injured.

4. I loved that Royals team that won in 2014 and 2015, but injuries and free agency have taken their toll. I’d love to see them back in the mix again, but I’m afraid it will have to be with a very different set of players. That’s a shame; they were fun to watch.

5. Then there’s Cleveland. They now have the longest streak of not having won the World Series (since 1948). It’s a good team with a very good manager and I’d like to see them break their streak (but not at the expense of my Dodgers). And sticking with the Indians, I hope the Terry Francona method of using his relievers in key situations, not just the ninth inning, catches on.

6. So Bud Selig is now a Hall of Famer. OK, I guess. There have been better choices and there have been worse choices. Ken Griffey, Jr. and Mike Piazza also made it. They were better, and easier, choices.

7. We lost W.P. Kinsella this year. He gave us the book Shoeless Joe, which in turn gave us the movie Field of Dreams. We also lost Hall of Famer Monte Irvin and broadcast legend Joe Garagiola, and  current pitcher Felix Fernandez, among others.

8. Dan Duquette is an honest man. He told us that the Orioles weren’t interested in Jose Bautista because the fans didn’t like him. OK, I guess. It’s honest, but I don’t know how much baseball sense it makes. Thoughts, Bloggess?

9. Buck Showalter is getting another year. He’s a fine manager, but he’s gotta know when to bring in his relief ace.

And finally it’s time for my annual Dodgers rallying cry “Wait ’til next year.” Why change the cry now; it’s been good for 28 years.

 

Veteran’s Committee Picks Two

December 5, 2016

The current iteration of the Veteran’s Committee just completed its vote for the Baseball Hall of Fame. Of 10 people on the ballot, two were elected. Neither of them was a player.

Chosen for the Hall were former Commissioner Bud Selig and General Manager John Schuerholz were elected. Selig garnered 16 of 16 votes while Schuerholz received 15 of 16 votes. Selig was appointed temporary Commissioner after Fay Vincent was ousted and later became permanent Commissioner. He served longer than anyone other than Judge Landis and was responsible for expansion, inter-league play, putting a lot of money in the coffers, making the All Star game matter for World Series purposes, helping to bring labor peace after the disastrous 1994 strike (which he helped bring on). Some of those are good, some bad, and I didn’t mention them all.

Schuerholz became the first GM to win the World Series in both leagues, leading Kansas City and Atlanta to victories ten years apart in the 1980s and 1990s. He is President of the Braves and has had a number of assistants move to GM duties with other teams.

Of the other people on the ballot, Lou Piniella received seven votes (12 needed for election) while no one else received more than five. So congratulations to Selig and Schuerholz on joining the Hall of Fame. Next up is the BBWAA vote in January.

Picking the Winners for the Latest Vet’s Committee

October 7, 2016

Well, we have the newest version of the Veteran’s Committee getting ready to make its call for the Hall of Fame (5 November). The ballot is posted below and I always make my choices for enshrinement. This year is no different, but the way I’m going at it is.

Let me start with the players (Baines, Belle, Clark, Hershiser, McGwire). It’s not like there’s a bad player there, but there’s not much to be excited about either. McGwire has the steroid issue, Hershiser is known for one season (and more like two months), Clark was great for a few years and got hurt, Belle was a monster (ask Fernando Vina about it) but also got hurt, and Baines may be the ultimate in compiling numbers over a long, long time. It’s not like any of them is exactly a bad choice, it’s just that none of them are an inspired choice. I wouldn’t be overly upset if any of them got in, and in Albert Belle’s case I’d certainly tell him I’m all for him if he asked (I very much value my continued good health), but then again if none of them got in, I wouldn’t be overly upset either. So I guess all that means I wouldn’t, as a member of the committee, vote for any of them.

The managers are quite a different story. I loved Lou Piniella. He had fire, he had savvy, he could win with weaker teams. Davey Johnson seemed to win when he had good teams and lose with weaker teams. Like Piniella he won it all once (in 1986, before the current committee’s beginning date of 1988) and went to the playoffs a lot. But I’m setting both aside because I think the people who set up the ballot made a huge blunder here. Where the heck is Jim Leyland? Like Piniella and Johnson he made the playoffs a bunch and won it all once (1997). He’s a three time manager of the year winner, as is Piniella (twice for Johnson). Of course I’ll admit his winning percentage is lower than either of the others, but he spent time making the Pirates a winner and had to put up with Loria at Miami and still won a World Series. I’m not about to vote for the other two without being able to at least consider Leyland.

For the executives I know I would vote for John Schuerholz. He built winning teams in both Atlanta and Kansas City. Granted the KC team already had Brett and Willie Wilson and many of the others, but Schuerholz added the players necessary to get to the 1985 championship. The other two, Bud Selig and George Steinbrenner have decent cases (and I expect Selig to make it in November), but I have a personal preference for one executive at a time, so Schuerholz gets my nod.

When I first thought about this list I got a call from my son. We spent time talking about a lot of things, including the Vet’s Committee vote. He had a suggestion, which I pass along to you. Currently there are 4 Veteran’s Committees. He suggested pushing it to five. Now hear me out before you scream too loud, “They already have four and you idiots want to jump to five?” His idea was that the four current committees confine themselves to players and that a new fifth committee meet periodically (the frequency can be determined) to vote strictly on non-players (managers, owners, executives, contributors, Negro Leagues, etc.). This would allow the current committees to concentrate more on players while the new committee did all the others. Frankly, I think it’s a decent idea. They’ll never do it because then the current committees would never elect a player. In all the time they had the three previous committees they elected two total players: Deacon White and Ron Santo. They did elect a handful of non-players and taking those away would require the committees to focus on players. Maybe they wouldn’t elect anyone and maybe they shouldn’t. Anyway I thought it an idea worth passing along.

New Veteran’s Ballot Announced

October 4, 2016

After revamping the Veteran’s Committee (s) for the 1000th time (give or take), the Hall of Fame just announced its newest ballot. This one is for the Vet’s Committee now known as “Today’s Game.” It covers the last handful of years (since 1988) and includes the following names:

Players: Harold Baines, Albert Belle, Will Clark, Orel Hershiser, Mark McGwire;

Managers: Lou Piniella, Davey Johnson (who might also be considered a player);

Executives: John Schuerholz, Bud Selig, George Steinbrenner.

The election will be 5 December 2016 by a 16 member committee. For election an individual must get 75% of the vote (12 voters).

Bud

August 15, 2014

 

Bud Selig, reminding us who's number one

Bud Selig, reminding us who’s number one

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.

 

The Strike

August 13, 2014

 

"Solidarity Forever, the Union will prevail"

“Solidarity Forever, the Union will prevail”

Yesterday marked the 20th Anniversary of the 1994 Strike that crippled baseball. Here are a few of my thoughts on the matter:
1. The Montreal Expos were in first place. Let me try that again. The Montreal Expos were in first place. In their entire time in Montreal, the Expos were in first place at the end of a season exactly twice: the 1981 split season strike year and 1994. Talk about bad timing.

2. The Texas Rangers were in first place. They had a losing record. It’s a measure of how weak the AL West was in ’94 that a team with a losing record was in first.

3. We missed a chance to see Tony Gwynn and Matt Williams do something extraordinary. Gwynn was close to hitting .400 and being Gwynn he might have pulled it off. Williams had a legitimate shot at 62 home runs. He didn’t get close ever again.

4. We lost a World Series for the first time since John McGraw refused to play in 1904 (90 years earlier). The revenue, the emotion, the interest that a Series, especially a good one, produces were all lost. Had Montreal won then Canada would have won three in a row (they’ve won none since).

5. It was hard to root for either side. The idea of a guy making $10,000 an inning versus a billionaire over the issue of money made it difficult to favor either side. I know there was more than money involved, but ultimately most people fixated on the cash. Around here most people also favored the owners. Maybe it’s just a Red State issue, but most of the people I know would have given up their first-born to be Moonlight Graham, so it was hard to have sympathy for someone willingly giving up playing ball for something other than age or injury.

6. Neither Bud Selig nor Don Fehr came off looking good. Selig was new and still acting commissioner (he got the job in 1992) and looked lost and when he occasionally looked found he seemed absolutely pro-owners and couldn’t be considered nonpartisan at all. Fehr appeared to care only about the cash, not the fans. In both cases they were doing their job but neither seemed at all concerned about the game itself. Neither man had their finest hour. Fehr ultimately hurt the union more than Selig hurt the owners when Fehr refused to support drug testing before Congress and Selig did support it (again both were doing their job, but for Fehr it turned into a PR nightmare).

7. Cal Ripken couldn’t save things alone, so the “wink, wink, nudge, nudge” attitude of both owners and players over steroids was allowed to take full flight. Things got temporarily better because “chicks dig the long ball”, but ultimately baseball took another hit.

8. But they apparently learned. There hasn’t been a work stoppage since. I think we should celebrate that, but I also think we ought to keep a wary eye cast toward both parties.

Some of my thoughts on the strike. There are others. I’m sure you have your own. Feel free to express them.

Got That Wrong

September 28, 2013

So I see Bud Selig is retiring at the end of next season (2014). He’s been both an interesting and controversial commissioner and it will be fun to see how history treats him. He made a lot of innovations some good some not so good. The All-Star Game as the determining factor in home field for the World Series is a “not so good”. The other two that I want to write about (inter-league play and the wild card) are a more mixed bag.

When the wildcard was first proposed, I had conflicting feelings. Frankly, I liked the idea of creating three division and adding a fourth team. It made for a more interesting playoff. On the other hand, the idea that after 162 games you got a chance at winning the World Series without finishing first bothered me. Well, I got that wrong. The last several years have been exciting down to the last weekend. Why? Mainly because the wildcard was still being determined and out of 15 games, two or three (four this year) still mattered. The division titles are determined, although it came down to the final Friday for St. Louis to clinch the National League Central, but the wildcards are still up for grabs. Well, at least the American League is up for grabs. The NL is playing for home field which isn’t exactly the same, but still makes the game interesting. In the AL there are three teams playing for two positions. So, Bud, I got that one wrong. The wildcard is exciting enough to make a purist admit he made a mistake doubting the idea.

The other issue was inter-league play. Here I really liked the idea. I wanted to see the Cubs play the White Sox in games that mattered. I wanted the Dodgers to face the Angels, the Yankees to take on the Mets, the Cardinals to drive up I-70 to face the Royals. So I was happy it was going to happen. Now they’ve more or less spoiled it by making it an everyday occurrence. Oh, boy, oh, boy the Rockies are playing the Red Sox. Do you really care? I like that they evened up the leagues (15 each) but that necessitated an everyday inter-league game. Too much, Bud, too much.

Going Hollywood on us

November 9, 2012

Bud’s dream

This is a blog I hoped I’d never have to write, but somehow I always knew I would. Major League Baseball has gone Hollywood on us. OK, they’d already done that, but now they’ve dipped toward the very bottom of the barrel.

Did you see that we now have official “nominees” for the various postseason awards? I have  this vision of Bud Selig coming from behind the curtain in a tux, standing before a microphone, and announcing, “In the category of Most Valuable Player in the National League, the nominees are…”. Then comes, “May I have the enveloped please?”. Finally, he rips open the envelope with the embossed crossed baseball bats on the back and says, “And the winner is…”. Then the winner comes out and announces, “I’d like to thank the academy, my hitting coach,and all the little people.”

God help us all. Can we just go back to doing it the way we’ve done it since the 1930s? It worked, didn’t it?

What have you done to my team?

June 29, 2011

As anybody who reads stuff here with any regularity knows, I’m a diehard Dodgers fan. I remember all the way back to when the letter on the cap was a “B” and I’ve been proud to admit my team loyalty. I’m not sure that last part is still true.

I saw an article on ESPN that listed the ten worst owners ever and put Frank McCourt second to Harry Frazzee, of sell Babe Ruth to the Yankees fame. They’re wrong. There are all those 19th Century owners who ran two franchises and gutted one to make the other a potential contender. Take a look at the 1899 Cleveland Spiders and tell me that guy wasn’t a first-rate jerk of an owner. But they aren’t wrong by much. McCourt is destroyed one of the true flagship franchises in baseball. I’d rank them second to the Cardinals in the National League (but not by much) and behind only the Yankees in the American League.

Of course McCourt has had a lot of help. His wife is a real jewel. She wants “diversity” in the front office, not competence. The scouting bureau isn’t anything to write home to mom about either. Those guys  they went out and drafted are the best they can do? God help my team. Jim Varney’s old “Ernest” character could have done better (at least “Ernest” would have been trying to do the right thing).  Bud Selig wanted Fox out so badly, he endorsed McCourt (at least tacitly) and now Selig wants to be  seen as acting in the best interest of the game?  Gimme a break. Actually I’m rooting for Selig in this one. The idea of taking the front money from the Fox deal and using it for a divorce (God, where’s Tammy Wynette when we need her?) instead of for players is so awful that I think Selig got this one right. And that’s how bad this situation has become, I’m now praising Selig.

I have no idea what’s going to ultimately happen in this mess (is “mess” too nice a word for this?), except that somebody new is going to take over my team. Hopefully, he (she–why not a woman?) will know what he’s doing. Frankly he/she can’t do any worse, at least I don’t think they can.