Bud Selig is retiring today. I didn't think I'd live to see it. He's been Commissioner since 1992, starting as Acting Commissioner and then officially taking the job in 1998. I've never been a fan. My view of him is colored by his killing of my Expos, so I'm not going to rewrite the words to Candle in the Wind for him.
He gets credit for a lot of stuff, let's talk about some of it.
MLB is making tonnes of money.
The game, at least as far as revenue is concerned, has never been healthier. Selig gets a lot of praise for that. To me he seems to be getting credit for riding the wave. 10 teams have local TV rights paying them more than $1 billion per year (the Jays really should be one of those teams). I don't think that Bud caused that. But he's been the head of baseball when all that money came, so he gets credit.
MLB has drug testing.
Yep, after standing side by side with Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, cheering them for 'saving baseball' and after being pushed by everyone to get testing, yes Bud got players peeing in cups. And yet, the biggest finding of PED users didn't come from drug tested, it came from names being leaked from a clinic that did the ingecting. Bud tried to sell it as a victory for their drug testing program, but really it showed that drug testing doesn't work. Several players were named as using and yet very few of them ever tested positive. The biggest victory in catching steroid users didn't come from testing.
Realignment and Wild Cards
That worked out well. Let's give him credit for that.
I'm not a big fan, but Bud got this done. If the Jays had a true NL rival, maybe I'd like it more. I can see how it is great for the Yankees and Mets fans or White Sox and Cubs fans, but the Jays won't have that team that makes interleague play fun.
Yeah, it should have happened years ago and, yes, there were more than a few problems with it this year. I'd like them to be able to get the replays done quicker, the whole bit with the managers coming out to stall on every close play gets to be a little much, but it is a good start.
We haven't had a lockout or a strike since 1995. As much as that lockout cost my Expos a playoff run (at very least), the very well might have kept the franchise in Montreal, at least we haven't had a stoppage since. I'm happy about that.
MLB.com has a been huge success. MLB.tv is great, I love it. It's all been great for baseball. I don't know that Bud deserves credit, my understanding is that he doesn't even use email. Then, he's been commissioner when it all happened, so let's give him some credit for it.
Ok, those are the positives, let's look at the stuff he's done that drive me crazy.
Killing the Expos.
Getting baseball out of Montreal seemed to be the biggest goal at the start of his reign over the MLB. At first he tried to kill off both the Twins and the Expos, but that didn't work. Then he was so desperate to kill the Expos, he inflicted Jeff Loria on baseball to do it. That's a gift that keeps on giving. Even if I didn't care about him getting rid of the Expos, giving Loria the Marlins as a thank you present for doing in the Expos is unforgivable.
The lockout/strike that cost cancelled a World Series.
Bud wanted to make some sort of statement against the Player's (don't call us a union) Association in 1995. It was very important, at the time, though I really can't remember what point he was trying to make. It must have been very important, because it cost us the 1994 playoffs and World Series (ok, ok, I do remember, the owners wanted a salary cap, the players didn't). It cost me a chance to see my Expos in the playoffs. It hurt baseball. It took a long time (and a bunch of dingers) to win fans back.
Being unable to help the A's.
The A's wanted to move to San Jose, unfortunately, for reasons beyond the understanding of anyone, San Jose is under the control of the Giants and the Giants blocked the A's from moving there. You would think Selig should have been able to make this happen, but no. I can't understand why this should have been so hard to resolve.
Changing the All-Star game.
After ending the 2002 All-Star game in a tie, because of worries of over using the last pitchers on each team. After that, he decided to 'make the All-Star game matter' by awarding World Series home field advantage to the league that wins the All-Star game. Just a silly idea.
Beyond those things, I don't understand why someone that makes as much money as he does can't get a suit jacket that fits or get a decent hair cut.
Now that he's retiring, what will you remember about Bud's time running the MLB?