The media hail Bud Selig being as one of the best things to ever happen to baseball. In reality, Bud Selig was the worst commissioner the sport has ever known.
Baseball is better without him around–although signs abound that Selig plans on continuing his lamentable involvement in the game he has presided over for the last 22 seasons.
His handpicked successor, Rob Manfred, will most likely carry forward with the same unfortunate agenda that has caused baseball to become far more distant to fans everywhere while at the same time growing the money pie for the owners and their employees.
Selig was a black mark upon the game. The commissioner’s head in the sand and late-to-the-party approach to steroids within the game was, of course, indefensible. But his failures go well beyond that.
Under his watch Major League Baseball has lost a generation of fans who possess little connectivity to the game and have little passion for baseball compared to generations of fans who came before them. The intimate attachment that used to exist, especially with the younger generation, has been lost. One wonders if it will ever return.
If someone wishes to chalk up something positive from the Bud Selig-era they may point to the revenues the game has accrued–but little else in the way of making baseball the momentous game it used to be.
He has gutted the game of its traditions, its unique dimensions, and its basic structure that used to see baseball possess so many of the characteristics that differentiated the game from every other sport by comparison.
The American and National League now hold those monikers in name only–and this has been the case for many years now. The removal of the respective league presidents and the homogeneous nature that has overtaken both leagues now provides for a bland and universal feeling to baseball which has eroded and swept away the unique characteristics that made the two leagues distinguishable from one another. League pride is now a thing of the past. With the advent of interleague play the novel concept of two teams meeting in a World Series without ever being on the same field prior has gutted the game of the special dynamic that made baseball and its championship series something that was truly exceptional and without peer.
The fact that the winning team (league) in the All-Star Game now secures home field advantage in the World Series is an absolute joke and a disgrace to the game.
Fan friendly? Remember something called doubleheaders? Me too. However when was the last time you can remember heading out to a ballpark to take in two games for the price of one–excluding make-up games? Even with the doubleheaders that are played because of makeup situations fans are required to pay for both games now. Selig loved to point out that MLB’s research indicated that fans today don’t want doubleheaders any longer; however, he has never cited any data that the public could view in this regard to substantiate his claims. Long before the author of the phrase “Let’s play two” passed away over the weekend, the concept of “Let’s watch two” died.
Selig did nothing to address the Bay Area baseball war between the Athletics and Giants other than to preach for years and years that his ‘panel’ was still looking for a solution…a solution that never came.
Under Selig’s watch opening day became something to be prostituted in exchange for TV money with ESPN granted whatever game it wanted to open the season with–on a Sunday night! Does any sport begin its year with any less fanfare and anticipation than Major League Baseball?
Playoff and World Series games continue to be played with contests running so late into the evening that adults strain to stay awake to watch the conclusion–never mind kids who have been asleep since the 3rd inning.
Instant replay has become an onerous element into the game in recent years, and if what we’re reading is true, expect baseball to do the unthinkable shortly by instituting a pitch clock. The intrusion of replay has also sucked the game dry of the personality that gave the game a key piece of flavor by featuring a manager arguing with an umpire.
Baseball feels less personal, less intimate, and its authentic connectivity to sports fans across America has never been as detached as it is right now.
Bud Selig is gone.
Good riddance, Bud.
Dino Costa is a sports talk host who may be found at www.dinocostalive.com.