Sources have told Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune that commissioner Bud Selig plans to step down after the 2012 season, when his contract is up.
The good news is that we’ll be rid of him in three years.
The bad news is we still have to endure him for another three years. Hopefully he won’t foul up the game more than he has already in his Napoleonic reign.
Selig was first named as acting commissioner immediately following the resignation of Fay Vincent. George Steinbrenner and several other owners were led by Selig in a plot to overthrow Vincent who Selig believed was guilty of biting the hand that fed him. Vincent, had quickly become known for always acting independently and in the best interest of the game. He had zero tolerance for gambling, ethics violations, criminal activity and cheating. Selig was enraged at Vincent for ruling without bias, rather than siding with the owners who paid his salary. Following an 18-9 no-confidence vote that Selig held in the dark of night, Vincent resigned in disgust. The Selig era had begun.
Baseball as we knew it then, will never be the same again.
You almost got the feeling right away that Selig cared very little about tradition and keeping the game pure, clean and honest. One of the first things he did as commissioner was to reinstate George Steinbrenner who had been banned for life by Vincent. The Yankees owner hired one of his henchmen, a small time mafia hood name Howard Spira, to follow one of his own players in an attempt to dig up some dirt, and then blackmail him in an attempt to avoid paying him his remaining salary ($300K) which was going to a children’s charity. That player was Hall of Famer Dave Winfield.
Selig and Steinbrenner have had a close relationship ever since and Selig has turned a blind eye on many other ethical issues where the Yankees were concerned.
You kind of expected that Selig was nothing more than a shill for the owners right from the start, after all he was one of them, and was even found to be one of the key conspirators in the landmark 1987 collusion case where owners led by Bud Selig and Jerry Reinsdorf attempted to rig the free agent system. A judge ruled that the owners had to pay the players $280 million dollars in damages. The relationship and trust between the players and the owners would be damaged forever. Fay Vincent released a statement soon after the 1990 settlement.
The single biggest reality you guys have to face up to is collusion. You stole $280 million from the players, and the players are unified to a man around that issue, because you got caught and many of you are still involved.
In an attempt to recoup the $280 million dollars that was lost to the players, Selig’s first act as commissioner was to expand the league which led to a great dilution of talent and quality that still exists today. He also broke up the two leagues into smaller divisions while adding a third, and of course he ushered in the Wild Card format. Regardless of whether you liked or disliked any of those moves, we can all agree it was motivated solely by greed and not by a purist’s love of the game.
Selig was also responsible for canceling the World Series in 1994, and it became quite evident that MLB owners finally had themselves a commissioner that they have always longed for; a commissioner who was at their beck and call. For the first time in nearly 100 years, there would be no World Series. The impetus for the cancellation was the players strike. Selig saw it as an opportunity and a chance to punish the players for beating him in the collusion case, so he sided with the owners and killed the Fall Classic. Best interest of baseball or sweet revenge? You decide.
I can go on and on listing the many grievances I have with Bud Selig, who even fouled up something as pure and simple as the All Star game. The most embarrassing moment in All Star game history occurred on his watch in 2002, when the game was played in his own home park in Milwaukee that he himself helped construct. Because he allowed managers to play as many players as they could during regulation so as to give them all a chance to play, the game ended in a tie when both squads ran out of players. He stood up and waved for the umpires and told them to end the game in the 11th inning tied at 7-7. A tie in baseball? On that day there was plenty of crying in baseball.
Should I mention his ridiculous rule that grants World Series home-field advantage to the winner of the Mid Summer Classic?
Or how he turned a blind eye to rampant steroids use because players like Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were bringing in millions of dollars a day in marketing revenue?
He put on a hell of show in 2005 when he appeared before congress and pleaded ignorance, but only an idiot would have believed that sob story. That debacle culminated with the now infamous Mitchell Report and allegations that more than half of baseball players were cheating.
If it’s one thing Selig is not, it’s ignorant.
He is in fact a mad genius, a brilliant manipulator, and a master of the macabre. He has his fingers in every pot, and knows exactly what is going on in every facet of the game both on the field and in every front office.
USA Today once called him an agent of change, and they were certainly right about that, but change at what cost?
I’m sure that many of you will disagree with me or have a diferent opinion or perception of Bud Selig. This is mine.