Hit the Road, Bud!

Historically, the position of baseball commissioner has been the most powerful position in sports. While this is partly due to baseball’s domination in popularity throughout most of the 20th century, it’s mainly due to the circumstances surrounding the creation of the job.
For those not familiar with baseball history, the 1919 World Series featured a scandal where 8 Chicago White Sox players (now forever remembered as the Black Sox) through the series to the Cincinnati Reds. To clean up its image, baseball decided to create the position with the prerequisite that the person chosen would not be somebody involved in the sport.
The first commissioner was Keensaw Mountain Landis, a United States District Judge from Illinois. For close to 25 years, he ruled both leagues with an iron fist, overseeing the era where baseball really became the national pastime.
No commissioner since yielded such power, but successors oversaw controversial issues such as integration, free agency, player drug abuse, and the rise in popularity of other sports.
After Faye Vincent resigned in 1992, baseball owners ignored the history of the position and hired one of their own. Bud Selig, the owner of the Milwaukee Brewers, took over the position, and has been an utter failure.
Besides being the owner’s tool, Selig’s decisions have been questionable his entire tenure. He was the one who pushed through interleague play. He was the person who made the All-Star Game, an exhibition where everybody is expected to play, into the game that determines the home field advantage in the World Series.
It was Bud that wanted to contract four teams, including the Minnesota Twins, from the sport. It was his decision that turned one All-Star Game into the first tie in baseball’s modern era. All of these decisions, though, pale compared to his disastrous handling of the steroid controversy that still keeps many hardcore fans from tuning in.
If there was any doubt of Bud’s incompetence, his actions these past few days should be the final nail in his coffin. This past Saturday, game three of the World Series didn’t start until after 10 pm, Philadelphia time, and didn’t end until almost two. While game four started at its scheduled time, it became clear around the fourth inning that it was extremely unlikely that the game would make it a full nine innings.
At this point, the game became a comedy of errors…almost literally. Besides rain, the wind was whipping the ball around, creating a handful of plays that will make bloopers reels for years to come. Each successive inning was played under worse conditions than the previous, before Tampa scored the tying run that opened the door for Bud to halt the lunacy.
It was almost like Bud was praying for a Rays run, and in some respects I can see why. Technically, a game is complete after five innings, so stopping the game with the Phils winning could have resulted in the Phils winning the World Series. But Bud said afterwards he had no plan to not play out an entire nine-inning game. Any stoppage, he said, would have just been an extended rain delay…even if it ran into Tuesday, Wednesday, or “Thanksgiving”, as he attempted to joke.
I actually don’t have a problem with him playing a bit loose with this rule. The deciding game of the World Series should go a full nine innings. But the game should have never made it past the third inning, and it’s so typical of Bud to indecisively ring his hands while waiting for a miracle to save him.
It’s time to return the position of commissioner to a person of strong stature who is not afraid of owners, players, or the intrusive nature of today’s media. We all now know there is somebody who will have a lot of free time in a few weeks who has always dreamed of having the gig. Oh wait, I said a person of strong stature. Sorry, W.


Ashley said…
oh boy do i agree.

last night during the press conference he definitely showed that he is lead by so many opinions and not his own. he really threw caution to the wind letting the players out there for that long because someone said the game could possibly be played.

i completely understand playing a 9 inning playoff game. chase utley even said he wouldn't want a championship won in a rain shortened game. there need to be some definite rules to that as well. if announcers on the radio and on tv have no idea how they should handle it, that's a major problem.

as mitch williams put it...it was a joke. a complete joke. game should have never started. the lie that their weather forecast showed they could play is really just ridiculous. maybe he should just tune into the local news.

I COULD GO ON. but you're the blogger :)
Anonymous said…
The reason this country is so screwed up, is because there's way too much concern over the fantasy world of jockdom. Like computer games - professional sports is for people that refuse to grow up and accept responsibility. And Washington is a flowering example of what happens when over-aged adolescent voters hand government over to con artists. Some people worry over baseball commissioners, and some people worry over disappearing rain forests and polar ice caps melting. When you die, tell God about the history of baseball commissioners and see if he gives a rat’s ass.


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