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Bud Selig: best commissioner ever?

PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 4:56 pm
by The Big Train
So says Richard Justice in The Sporting News....

Bud Selig is the best commissioner baseball has ever had. It's not even close. To think otherwise is silly.

He brilliantly steered the sport from the dark days of the 1994 World Series cancellation to record-setting growth. He is the biggest reason baseball has labor peace, parity and attendance that has increased for four years in a row.

A new generation of ballparks has been built under his watch, and he expertly guided baseball into the Internet age.

His only fault is that he failed to quickly understand the impact steroids were having on the game. The same, too, is true of owners, general managers, trainers and doctors.

Steroids happened. We can't ignore that. Selig also pushed for the best testing agreement in the sport's history and had the guts to order George Mitchell to tell as much of the story as he could.

Can you imagine the NFL doing such a public soul-cleansing?

Selig is as decent and as honorable as anyone you'll ever meet. At a time when the sport is running so well, it's hard to remember what the bad old days were like.

First, there's labor peace. This isn't a big deal to people of a certain age because they don't remember that for about 20 years baseball's players and owners tried to kill the game every four or five years. They were well on their way to doing just that when a player strike forced Selig to cancel the 1994 World Series.

Virtually all the good things that have happened to baseball since 1995 are because of Selig.

He led the charge for interleague play and an additional round of playoffs. has dramatically changed the way fans watch games, buy tickets and get information.

Selig also pushed for the revenue sharing that has given more teams the chance to be competitive. Fifteen of baseball's 30 teams have played at least one postseason series the last two seasons. That's parity by any definition.

Under Selig, revenues have grown from $1.2 billion in 1992 to $6.2 billion in 2007. That's why owners simply won't allow him to retire.

"You can't retire until I expire," A's owner Lew Wolff emailed Selig last winter.

Baseball owners can't overlook all the good that has happened.

And there's steroids. Baseball wasn't hurt in any financial sense by steroids, but baseball was embarrassed. It took far too long to recognize the problem.

That said, not every player used steroids. One of the defenses of the cheaters is they had to do steroids because everyone else was doing them. Wrong. Some players made the right choice.

I was around those Oakland teams a lot in the late '80s. Those teams were ground zero for baseball and steroids.

I saw players hiring nutritionists and using exotic supplements. I saw them retreat to the back of the clubhouse almost every night to pound the weights. I saw them get bigger and hit more home runs. I thought it all made sense.

OK, I'm dumb. I was in a lot more clubhouses than Selig, and I completely missed what was going on.

To this day, I'm nearly certain a lot of those Oakland players -- Carney Lansford, for instance -- never touched a performance-enhancing drug. I can't swear this is true, but I believe it.

I believe in my heart there was no conspiracy to look the other way on steroids, in an effort to make the game more popular. This isn't a popular opinion. I'm sure to hear from people who absolutely, positively believe Selig knew and Donald Fehr knew and maybe they all knew.

All I can tell you is that I was there. I was there when steroids first entered baseball, and I covered as many of the Mark McGwire-Sammy Sosa games as anyone in the country. I didn't look the other way. Did I miss the story? You bet.

As the man in charge, Selig is ultimately responsible. But what a lot of people miss is that baseball is governed by a labor agreement. There is not much Selig can do unilaterally.

But he certainly could have made better use of the bully pulpit that comes with being commissioner. Did he push hard enough for steroid testing? No, he didn't. The owners first requested steroid testing in the 1995 labor agreement, but they didn't push hard. They had critical economic needs after the 1994 strike; rightly or wrongly, those came first.

Selig's management style is a thing of beauty. He works the phones from morning until night, arguing, pleading, cajoling reporters, players and owners.

He makes more than $15 million a year but remains a common man in so many ways. He lunches on hot dogs, takes the grandkids to Target and believes in old-fashioned values.

Last fall when he was visiting his second home in Scottsdale, Ariz., he couldn't find his beloved Green Bay Packers on television. So he asked around and ended up at Buster's sports bar. Alone.

By the end of the game, he was talking baseball with half the place while watching the Packers and lunching on a Cobb salad and a dozen Diet Cokes. Who couldn't love a man like that?

Richard Justice is a columnist for the Houston Chronicle and a regular contributor to Sporting News. ... p?t=381768

Re: Bud Selig: best commissioner ever?

PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 5:27 pm
by jake_harv88
This sums up my current opinion on the topic:

Re: Bud Selig: best commissioner ever?

PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 5:34 pm
by BronXBombers51 wrote...

Finally there is the ever increase of ticket sales. Wanna know why ticket sales are up? Because of offense and the long ball. Wanna know why offense is ever increasing? BECAUSE OF STEROIDS!!! Is that good for the game? I think not. Selig has done nothing himself to increase ticket sales in...

If ticket sales are still increasing, despite steroid use...why isn't that good for baseball? People are still going to the games. Barry Bonds sells out stadiums all over the country. He attracts crowds. It would be bad for the game if people were boycotting. They aren't is drawing bigger crowds than ever.

Teams like the Devil Rays, Royals, Marlins, and Pirates do nothing but take their money and run. Despite these teams having absolutely terrible records they continue to be the most profitable organizations in baseball.

This confused me. Those teams aren't the most profitable. The large markets teams are. And who is to say they aren't spending their luxury money? I'm not saying that they are, but how can you tell?

Re: Bud Selig: best commissioner ever?

PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 6:45 pm
by Amazinz
BronXBombers51 wrote:This confused me. Those teams aren't the most profitable.

Often they are if the reports by Forbes, Baseball Prospectus, etc., are to be believed.

Re: Bud Selig: best commissioner ever?

PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 8:47 pm
by hwiggen
Bud Selig is not a commissioner, he's an owner.
Most of what he's done has diminished the game.
People are willing to spend more on entertainment now than ever and IMO that's the real reason behind ticket sales. Even NHL teams are seeing bigger profits than ever but no reasonable person would call Gary Bettman a good commissioner.
Giving Selig credit for baseball bouncing back from a strike that he was partly responsible for is pretty offensive to me.
We all have a right to our opinions, however varying they may be; and it's okay with me if people disagree.
But in my opinion, in the wake of the steroids scandal, Selig should be banned from baseball (if only because it would be to difficult to ban ALL the owners). The entire steroid scandal is a product of the strike, and the owners, represented by Selig, were responsible for the strike.

Re: Bud Selig: best commissioner ever?

PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 11:32 pm
by MTUCache
The assumptions made in that topic are just silly.... as if the only person responsible for anything that happens to "the game" (good or bad) rests entirely on the shoulders of the commissioner. That's garbage.

At least 50% of the things that influence the success or failure of an entertainment industry have nothing to do with that industry itself. I'd wager that number is even higher personally.

Things like the invention of cable television, the proliferation of all sports in general, the excess of disposable income in this society (up until the last couple of years anyway), the trend of consumerism among a young and impressionable fan-base, an increasing population in general, etc, etc, etc... none of these things have anything whatsoever to do with Bud's decisions or indecisions.

Add to that the amount of baseball-related happenings that occurred without Bud's involvement (Mac/Sosa for example), the influx of latin talent into the game, and those things he had little or no control over (*gulp*steroids*gulp*), and how those have impacted the popularity of the game, and this is a joke.

To absolve him of any blame whatsoever for steroid's (and their impact on the game) while at the same time forgiving him for anything else bad that's happened and giving him credit for anything good that's happened is just poor journalism, not to mention logic.

If all he'd done for his entire career is stay the hell out of the way and keep quiet in his office, this game would still be very close to where it's at today. In fact, it's quite easy to point out all those occasions when the game would have been astronomically better-off without his involvement. Finding similar positive decisions is pretty difficult, and basing this argument just off of popularity and money is a mistake.

Re: Bud Selig: best commissioner ever?

PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 11:44 pm
by byfrcp
We're in recession and baseball is making the most money it's ever made.

A stagnant commissioner would not lead the product to such an immense amount of growth.

Re: Bud Selig: best commissioner ever?

PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 12:00 am
by MTUCache
byfrcp wrote:We're in recession and baseball is making the most money it's ever made.

A stagnant commissioner would not lead the product to such an immense amount of growth.

First, the recession has barely begun, and definitely hasn't impacted any of the major sports at this point.

Second, a "stagnant commissioner" leading a product to growth is easily possible. Nascar and football had nearly non-existent governing bodies during their complete explosion in the last decade. If we're crowing Bud Selig for getting baseball's proverbial head back above water and putting the game back on track, you must be absolutely salivating at the thought of making deities out of Paul Tagliabue, Mike Helton, and Brian France, right? I mean the growth and money in those sports have been ten-fold what baseball has done in the last decade. Being an owner in either of those two sports would have been a dream come true for just about any baseball owner during the 90s and early 2000s.

Re: Bud Selig: best commissioner ever?

PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 1:36 am
by hwiggen
Well said, MTUCache.

Re: Bud Selig: best commissioner ever?

PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 2:15 am
by byfrcp
The job of a commissioner is to make the most money possible for the owners. Baseball has seen it's highest profits with Selig as commissioner. So therefor he is the best commissioner. Am I missing something?