Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A look back at contraction

Upon hearing of Bud Selig's visit to Target Field on Monday, every Twins fan had to roll their eyes and guffaw. It wasn't so long ago that Bud Selig proposed to contract two teams from Major League Baseball, taking the total from 30 to 28. At that time, there had been no progress made on new ballpark legislation and the team hadn't been to the playoffs in ten years. When Judge Harry Crump ruled that the Twins had to honor their lease at the Metrodome for the 2002 season, Selig relented and the home team went on to win the division.

This whole modern area of winning seems to have been born out of that short brush with death. That 2002 squad certainly played with a chip on their shoulder. And the fans came back in droves, cheering harder just to spite Bud Selig.

So it's a little hard to swallow when the commissioner claims that contraction was a myth.

"History has a way of letting myths get in the way of what really happened. Never did the Pohlad family ever waver from wanting the Twins to stay here, despite a lot of difficulties."

I don't remember anyone saying this at the time, but every time the word contraction is said now, the comment is: Oh, that was just a threat to leverage a better deal with the MLB Players Union, with whom their CBA was set to expire.

I guess I'm pro-contraction, because I hope it's not true. It was great feeling persecuted and scared, but then rising above it and going to the ALCS.

If it is completely true, and there was never any chance at all of the Twins getting contracted, then it represents another awesome anti-Selig feeling separate from persecution: conspiracy. Screwing with our emotions just to win a labor battle? Wasting the court and the cities time? He thinks he's bigger than the game.

"I don't want to go back into all that; someday, if I ever write a book. The story got more than a little exaggerated."

Seriously, you come out looking terrible either way.


Bagman said...

Nice post.

Anonymous said...

It's remarkable that Selig is still the commissioner. His missteps are numerous (drugs, contraction, hairpieces), but he just seems to hang on. Must be the Milwaukee Mafia. Or something.

In his ceremonial role as Commissioner, he had to be at the ballpark. But he could refrain from pushing his revisionist history onto people who know better. Shut up, Bud.


JimCrikket said...

I was beginning to think I was the only Twins fan offended by Selig's comments because I hadn't read anyone else in either the conventional media or Twins blogdom calling him out. (I also went on a bit of a Selig-rant today on our blog.)

I'm glad to see others feel similarly, after all.

His comments were an insult to Twins fans, yet so typical of this joke of a Baseball Commissioner.

haasertime said...

Thank JC. I could have spent a lot more time with this, but I was trying to just describe the feelings associated with revising history. I didn't want to turn it into anti-Bud. But that's hard to do. I'd certainly to recommend anyone reading this to go check out 'Knuckleballs' post on the subject.