After seeing star player after star player simply given away by his team, and after listening to nonsensical debates about Hall of Fame balloting, I think we all need a few quick reminders about baseball history – specifically with regards to one person, and how much actual damage he’s done to the game we love.
Baseball history lesson, Cliffs Notes My Baseball Page version:
In 1970 Bud Selig purchased the Seattle Pilots out of bankruptcy court and moved them to Milwaukee, where they were renamed the Brewers. Bud then spent 20 something years being dreadfully incompetent at his job of running a Major League baseball team. I don’t want to speak for you dear reader, but I think what most of us would do if we wore those shoes would be either a) figure out a way to improve, or b) sell the team.
Bud did neither.
Instead what he did, was formulate a plan from which he could get George Steinbrenner to share his money with Bud, even if Bud continued to run his team fecklessly. (And by extension, get other owners with successful baseball teams to share their money with other owners who were incompetent.)
Of course, Bud couldn’t say that publicly, so he sold the media on selling the public that this was all in the best interests of the game because revenue sharing and luxury taxes would create competitive balance – despite a mountain of empirical evidence that suggested otherwise. Most baseball media, either through intellectual laziness or greed, gladly spread Bud’s nonsense – which in turn was believed by a plurality of baseball fans.
An era that had more competitive balance than any other in history (mid-70s through the mid-90s) gradually turned into what we currently watch – an era with next to no competitive balance.
The reason? MLB now has a system, largely created by Bud Selig, which guarantees a profit for owners regardless of whether or not the team is run well, or whether or not the owner even tries to win.
Incompetency and indifference are rewarded very handsomely in MLB.
It must also be continually said aloud, that these aren’t private businesses like our local hardware stores and auto-mechanics we’re talking about. These are businesses with stadiums mostly funded by the public and businesses that receive Congressional exemptions with anti-trust laws, labor laws, and tax laws. In other words, owners owe the fans their best effort as the fans are not only emotionally invested in their local team’s success, but we’re financially invested as well.
What must also be continually said aloud, is that as a thank you to Bud Selig, MLB gave him a plaque in Cooperstown. A nice segue into…
This is the same Bud Selig who also was 100% aware that there was a PED problem in baseball. The same Bud Selig who looked away from said PED problem. The same Bud Selig who went in front of Congress and derided players who used PEDs so he could re-write his own “legacy”.
And once again, thanks largely to the aforementioned dishonest segment of the media, history was re-written. As a result, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens – who, despite what we may think of them personally, broke a grand total of zero baseball rules – do not have plaques in Cooperstown next to the honorable Bud Selig.
Normally when I say that Bud Selig has done more harm to the game than Eddie Cicotte, Pete Rose and Mark McGwire ever did, people look at me like I have six heads.
But he has.
We have a Hall of Fame voting process that has become a side-show about which players should be punished (or not). We a have a system in which more than half of the fan bases in MLB are going to pay to watch a team not even try to win, and turn a profit anyway – in part due to tax payer funding. And all of that is because of Bud Selig and his sycophant message boys.
At the risk of being overly officious, I leave you with this: When you’re hearing “debates” about whether or not Barry Bonds should be in Cooperstown, or why your team’s best player was just given to another team because your team didn’t want to pay him, take a step back and look at the forest.
You’ll see Bud Selig.
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