Bud Selig sat with SNY’s Keith Hernandez, Ron Darling and Gary Cohen during the early innings of Tuesday night’s 9-1 bashing of the Miami Marlins. They discussed issues facing not only the Mets, but baseball as a whole and the back and forth was interesting to say the least. The crew had their take on a few topics, including length of games with the now added challenge option, but did their best to put Selig on the edge of his seat on more challenging obstacles facing the game.
Gary brought up the most important question because it indirectly touched upon the lawsuit brought forth by former Executive VP of Ticket Sales Leigh Castergine. As an employee of the Mets organization through SNY, Cohen is not in a position to raise the allegation of discrimination coming from COO Jeff Wilpon directly on air, but this is no ordinary group of announcers. These men are pioneers at their positions and have a unique grasp on the pulse of the fan base. This is of course, a fan base located in one of the most socially advanced metropolitan cities in the world. A fan base that works and lives along side individuals of all genders, races and religious creeds, among many other identities.
Gary elaborated on the recent transgressions that have spun the NFL in a dreadful slew of disturbing allegations, cover-ups and mishandlings and posed the following question. “What is the responsibility of the commissioner, of what you would call the public trust…to legislate that kind of thing”. Selig’s response? “Baseball is a social institution” to which he believes the “players” have done a great job representing. There was, of course, no mention of the other individuals responsible for the daily operations of major league baseball like owners, front office executives, coaches, etc.
Now, I don’t expect Selig to come on SNY and indict the Chief Operating Officer of one of the very MLB teams he oversees, especially when the legal proceedings are still in progress. However, declaring baseball an institution that prioritizes high moral standards above anything else was poorly timed, particularly given the stadium he was in.
In an interview with ESPN’s Adam Rubin that took place only hours before the commissioner brought his farewell tour to Queens, Selig took a selectively indifferent stance towards allegations that a high ranking Mets executive, Jeff Wilpon, publicly humiliated and ultimately fired a former female employee because she was having a child out of wedlock. In his position, this is a weak stance on moral high ground.
Honestly, both Selig and the Wilpons are vastly out of touch with many of the social obligations a major sports league has to the society it brings entertainment to. Major League Baseball can be bigger than the court of law, they can be bigger than the government and certainly bigger than the Wilpons because they are a private organization.
As his tenure comes to an end, Mr. Selig could be on the forefront of defining the moral standard within the very social institution that has been under his control for decades. Instead, he appears to be relegating such an astonishing disregard for women’s rights as “employment ligitation” adding that “there’s nothing more to talk about”.
If Ms. Castergine’s allegations are true, I sincerely hope the individuals present during Jeff’s disparaging remarks come forth and have the courage to uplift Major League Baseball to the social institution Bud Selig claims it has always been.
P.S. – Did Bud completely forget the substance abuse allegations of his current and former “players” that has demolished the reputation of baseball for years now? It took an act of Congress just to get the wheels moving on performance enhancing drugs. This isn’t even old news, the Biogenesis scandal was last year for goodness sake.