Thursday, October 30, 2008

Why I hate Alan "Bud" Selig

by T.F.R.

"Commissioner Bud Selig is as earnest as a car salesman or a Cubs fan - at one time he was both" The conscience of Baseball by Larry Moffi.

Last night the Phillies won their second World Series in franchise history, and first in almost three decades. With the exception of the Phil's inability to move runners and a few defensive gaffs, it was a well played and entertaining series. But it almost became one of the biggest embarrassments in the long history of the game.

Or so we thought, when in the top of the 6th with the Rays down a run, rain poured and the wind howled, conditions which should have halted the game at least an inning earlier. With the game already official, the umpires kept the teams on the field when conditions were unsafe, giving the Rays the most chances to score and keep their hopes alive.

What no one seemed to know is that Commissioner Bud Selig had decided, that no matter what the weather, the rules would be bent and the game would go to completion. The problem was, he only told the owners this - he neglected to pass the information on to managers, players, umpires, FOX and the fans. This complete breakdown in communication resulted in players on the field risking injury, umpires who knew it wasn't their place to decide the fate of the World Series and fans who looked just miserable. While I applaud Seligs approach to suspend an official game despite the score, I find it despicable that no one was made aware of it before hand. This is just one travesty of the game that Bud has presided over.

In the past, commissioners were elected to expand and improve the game. There have been those on the sides of the players: Happy Chandler, despite a unanimous vote against, upheld the integration of Baseball, Bowie Kent Kuhn who upheld arbitration and free agency, Ford Frick, who took millions of dollars that would have otherwise gone to owners and created the pension fund.

And there have been those on the side of the owners; General William Eckert, a career military man with a business degree, who had never played a day of baseball in his life, *Peter Ueberroth, another business man who lined the owners pockets with millions of dollars from TV deals. Kennesaw Mountain Landis a man who was brought in for the specific purpose to clean up baseball, and our own Alan H. Selig.

Bud is the ninth Commissioner of baseball, the first to be promoted from within the owners fraternity. This is a man who cares nothing for the fans or the players, as an owner he has only one thing on his mind: Rape and pillage to make as much money as you can before you die so you can be buried with it. Much like our friend Mr. Pohlad. Never before had a commissioner been tied financially to a team. He had to step down as president and CEO of the Brewers, and was forced to sell the team when his status was changed from acting commish to just plain commish. But from the time he began tenure to when he finally sold the team, his stock prices rose, making him millions of dollars on top of his ridiculous $14.5 million salary.

The majority of his tenure has been riddled with embarrassment, the '94 players strike, the umpire strike, the tied all-star game, that steroid scandal, and most notably for those who read this blog: contraction. There have also been parts of the game I personally don't like but some seem to enjoy: Interleage play, unbalanced schedule (its good to a point, but why play one team 7 times in April and be done with them for the season?) and the World Baseball Classic. Though, I must admit through gritted teeth that I do enjoy the three division and wild card set-up.

Despite all of this, I believe Selig will be remembered as a great leader of baseball, who guided it through a renaissance of sorts. Teams are making money and people are going to the ballpark like never before, despite the absorbently high ticket costs and the influx of revenue generated by publicly financed stadiums. Which he helped little to build.

*I only put Peter Ueberroth on the owners side because the Twins don't put that money to good use. He was actually a good commissioner and during his tenure every team in the league made money.


Holmer said...

Sounds like you're talkin' about a lynchin'.

I agree with the decision to play the entire game no matter how long it took. I also agree that I, much less the players should have known about it.

Are there set terms for Baseball Commissioner? When is Alan out and Billy Crystal in? I want to the vote to be brought to the people.

tfrezac2002 said...

He was supposed to be done after next season, but the owners love him so much they extended his contract through 2012. If the owners wont let you leave, you must be doing something wrong.

soup said...

I'm generally indifferent to Bud. I obviously hate him for the contraction stuff, but besides that I don't have much of an opinion. As Rezac has pointed out, he has had some good and bad moments.

I would actually prefer a comish to be pro owner to pro player. Owners take on all the risk. Players are doing just fine. I think we all can think of 900 players that are "over paid." You make owners happy by increasing baseball popularity and thus revenues, which Bud has done. As a result, owners are in a better position to pay players too much money.

But, I am not much of a MLB commissioner historian. So feel free to tell me why I'm wrong.

tfrezac2002 said...

I for once what a commissioner that is pro fan. I want someone who will stem the rise in ticket prices, who can help raise money to build stadiums so teams don't need to bitch and moan for public financing, someone who can keep everyone happy so there is never again a work stoppage. And most of important of all, someone who has respect for the history and traditions of the game.

tfrezac2002 said...

Another thing: He screwed Montreal out of a team by ushering in Jeffrey Loria as owner. An old friend and a man who he knew had no intention of building a stadium.

bizmarkie507 said...

Yeah Selig sucks so hard.

haasertime said...

the only defense to Seligs ineptitude i have is that the sportsbusiness world has changed immensely in the past 20 years, and that the MLBplayers union is the toughest union in the country. He's kinda like Bush. Sure, he sucks and all, but these are weird times.

All you need to do when convincing anyone that Selig sucks is this:

1. The Miller Park fiasco

2. Contraction

It's all about the $$$$

Anonymous said...

I was at game 5 of he World Series (parts one and two... lol). After the Phillies clinched, and he got up to present the trophy, the boos were the loudest I have ever heard at any Philadelphia sporting event I have ever been to. When I saw the replay on TV, the bastards at Fox cut off the crowd mics so the TV audience couldn't hear the boos! Bud Selig is an utter bafoon.