Congrats to the newest members of the Hall of Fame, Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez. Also joining them in the class of 2017 is former commissioner Allan Huber “Bud” Selig. Selig was voted in by the Veterans Committee and my question is, “Why?”
Selig was appointed acting commissioner in 1992 and faced his first crisis two years later when the season was cancelled midway during the players strike. At that time the Montreal Expos held the best record in the Major Leagues. The strike doomed their fate as the Expos attendance dwindled. They relocated to Washington and became the Nationals ten years later. What if Montreal won a World Championship during that short lived 1994 season? Would baseball still be in that great city that produced five Hall of Famers in their 35 years of existence?
Under Selig’s tenure the National and American Leagues both merged, as the one sided Designated Hitter position still remained only in the A.L. The World Baseball Classic was formed, with the games being played during spring training when players weren’t really on top of their game. Great idea but horrendous timing.
Selig’s idea of the winner of the All-Star game getting home field advantage in the World Series was as ridiculous as its motto of, “This time it counts.” It took MLB 14 years to realize that it’s common sense to have the pennant winner with the best record to be awarded Games 1&2 and 6&7. Also during Selig’s watch, those World Series games that have 8:30 pm starting times on the East coast have been missed by the most important viewers for the future of the game, the young fans.
The newly minted Hall of Famer has been fully credited with the financial turnaround of America’s pastime with a 400 percent increase in revenue, which includes a television contract that gives total control to the networks of the time the games will be played. Hello World Series night games that go past midnight, and Sunday night games which were switched on short notice from their original day time starts to ruin the family’s afternoon outings.
Yes, Selig has done his part to stuff the owner’s pockets with big time money. Even the players, including the .220 hitters, get a piece of the pie as well. But as for the fan’s concern, “fugetaboutit.” One has to go into his IRA account to sit in a great seat, another has to keep toothpicks handy to keep his eyelids from closing during those almost four hour marathons. The East Coast Youths of America will never witness the drama of a Carlton Fisk moment, or a Reggie Jackson display, or a Kirk Gibson heroic, because they’re all snoring.
I’ll end it with this, Mr. Selig has been great for the bank accounts of the small fan based teams. His “revenue sharing” approach, which basically shares the wealth between large market teams with the smaller markets to the dismay of those major city owners, who are basically keeping their arch-rivals in business. I’m not even going to touch the steroids subject that’s been well documented. I must say that Selig’s ignorance on reviewing Pete Rose’s lifetime ban for gambling, while those steroid users get to come back after their first and second suspensions to add more numbers to their bogus stats, has taken quite a blow to the integrity of the games accomplishments from the pure pioneers of Aaron, Mays and Maris just to name a few.
Baseball is my Buddy but for me, this newly inducted Hall of Famer is Not My Bud!