Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Selig Continues to Fail

Kenesaw Mountain Landis must be rolling over in his grave. Commissioner Bud Selig and Major League Baseball continue to reward cheaters with Melky Cabrera signing a free agent contract for 2 years / $16 million with the Blue Jays and Bartolo Colon signing for 1 year/ $3 million with the A’s. After being suspended last season after testing positive for testosterone use and then trying to cover it up, Cabrera was also awarded his World Series share and ring from the Giants. Add to this Colon gets a new contract after also being suspended for Performing Enhancing Drugs (PED’s ) and these players are not only being reinstated they are actually being rewarded with hefty pay raises!

Just add these signings to a long list of atrocities that have been allowed during this fraud of a Commissioner Bud Selig’s tenure, the man that has been ruining our national pastime for over twenty years. Let’s start with the fact that he was one of the owners who colluded to rig the free agent market before becoming commissioner, then was appointed commissioner after forcing Fay Vincent out of office. A commissioner is supposed to make decisions in the best interest of baseball. Instead as a glorified owner he has made decisions from a selfish, money hungry perspective for over twenty years. Here is a look at his checkered legacy to date:

- Adjusting each league into three divisions each, thus giving the National League Central six teams and the American League West only four teams creating a competitive disadvantage for five of the six divisions in the majors (1994)

- Adding two Wildcard teams to each league (1994, 2012)

- Adding Interleague play (1997)

- Creating November Baseball due to the lengthy Playoff Schedule (2001)

- Dissolving the National and American Leagues and its Presidents giving Selig total control over all league issues (2000)

- Tried to contract two teams (Twins and Expos, 2001)

The Twins to corner that part of the Midwest market for the Milwaukee Brewers (his previous stop as owner) to prosper more financially.

Brought up on racketeering and conspiracy charges to defraud minority ownership of the Expos and had to settle out of court for an undisclosed sum.

- Make the All Star Game count toward home field advantage in the World Series (2003)

- Letting players get away with taking Performance Enhancing Drugs (PED’s) which gave certain players an added advantage while ruining the games historic statistical records.

Let’s face it all leagues are interested in the almighty dollar but baseball always seemed above all that. Until Selig took over baseball was special. The season was a marathon, not a sprint and making the playoffs was an accomplishment. Major League Baseball plays double the amount of games each season than that of the NBA and NHL and plays ten games for every one NFL game. There was something special about only two teams from each league playing for a chance to play in a World Series. There was something special about a World Series matchup of teams from each league that had never met before. That was all done away by novelties like the Wildcard and Interleague play. Making the All Star Game count toward home field advantage in the World Series just made things worse.

The biggest travesty of all during Selig’s tenure is the Steroid era. By doing nothing about rampant PED abuse is the disgrace that marks his commissionership. Selig chose to look the other way because baseball was making money until the government finally stepped in. Selig’s and MLB’s drug policy of suspending players is another sham perpetrated onto baseball fans. A player can test positive up to three times before they are suspended permanently from baseball. Players like Cabrera and Colon are allowed to stay in the game and prosper financially. Their respective teams won a World Series (Cabrera’s Giants) and won a division title (Colon’s A’s) due to their contributions while cheating. Selig was not even going to take Cabrera’s name out of the batting title race (Cabrera removed himself voluntarily) so he would have awarded Cabrera a Silver Slugger Award at the end of this season. How embarrassing. He lets a former PED user Mark McGwire (Dodgers Hitting Coach) and others stay in the game. These players are cheaters and what is the old saying, once a cheater always a cheater. Pete Rose was banned for betting on baseball but these other cheaters are allowed to still play and coach? They should all be removed from the game.

The first baseball commissioner, Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis in 1920 set a precedent when he came into office amid the Black Sox scandal and banned eight Chicago White Sox players for life for fixing games in the 1919 World Series. Not all of these players accepted money but the Judge made his decision clear:

“Regardless of the verdict of juries, no player who throws a ball game, no player who undertakes or promises to throw a ball game, no player who sits in confidence with a bunch of crooked ballplayers and gamblers, where the ways and means of throwing a game are discussed and does not promptly tell his club about it, will ever play professional baseball.”

Throwing games and influencing them by taking PED’s is one and the same, money in the players’ pockets, cheating. Judge Landis didn’t stand for it and Commissioner Giamatti did not stand for it in the Pete Rose case. Now those were commissioners.

We have now become a society of second and third chances but actions should have consequences. These are men playing this game not high school or college kids and despite some of the talk to the contrary these players are role models. If a player is found guilty of PED use, gambling, etc…they should be banned from baseball for life: Plain and simple. There is an appeal process in place like the one used by Ryan Braun for players to defend their actions but after that it’s simple: You cheat your gone. The record books should be wiped clean of these cheaters and they should also not be allowed on Hall of Fame ballots. If there were a true commissioner of baseball the last two decades things would have played out much differently. Bud Selig’s terrible job as commissioner is a stain on baseball that continues with every short sighted, selfish decision and Cabrera and Colon signing.

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Tags: Bud Selig Melky Cabrera

  • Lee Trocinski

    I have no problem with interleague play, as player movement is so common that it’s more of an injustice for fans to not see certain players. I’m also a 2-strike guy on PEDs, a warning then done. Melky did profit from his PED use, but not as much as he would have if he wasn’t caught. Steroids started before Selig, though I agree that he was way too slow to react.

    The other sports have had as much, or more, turmoil the past 15-20 years, so I really don’t know how much blame Selig should get. Goodell has tried to be a Landis-type commissioner, but he has inconsistent penalties and goals, so he hasn’t been great. Stern has seen a large dropoff in quality of play the past 15 years, and the NHL has basically pushed their way out of being a major sport. If you can come up with someone who would be better, then I would be all for it.

    • Lee Trocinski

      Also, November baseball happened because of 9/11, not because of a long schedule. With the 6-team division, his Brewers were one of the teams at the biggest disadvantage.

      Back to interleague play, I favor an NBA-type schedule, playing one three-game series against each team from another league. That leaves 70% of the season against your own league. It eliminates the strength-of-schedule issue that’s been present in IP. Create that schedule and make the DH rule uniform, preferably without it, and that would help the game a bit.

  • Matt Adams

    Happenings under Selig’s reign may be mixed, but there is a process in place for PED offenders and it’s something that had to be worked for with the player’s association.That’s a positive thing. It’s not Selig’s fault somebody opted to pay him.

  • fireboss

    The World Series share is mandated by the CBA so he had to get that. The punishments are collectively bargained so the three strike rule is the law of the game. I have no trouble with a player coming back like McGwire did. He paid his price. I do have issues with a team giving Cabrera such a big multi-year contract. I really hope the cocky jerk flops like a flounder up there.

    I agree on Selig being a lousy commissioner for the fans of the. Last year I wrote two pieces here on the take showing where I think he’s taking MLB and how he’s set it up so it will look like the owners and fans want it this way when really it’s all about rewarding the owners. He was a close friend and backer of Bart Gaimatti and lobbied for his selection as commissioner. Giamattie persuaded Fay Vincent to leave hos position and become deputy commissioner. When Vincent punished Steinbrenner for consorting with gamblers the owners were furious and Selig saw his chance. He led the owner revolt that forced Vincent to resign and like all good revolutionary leaders humbly agreed to fill the role until they could find a suitable person to take over. There was never as far as I can find any real job search conducted and eventually Bud was “persuaded’ to take the job full time. All the talk about his retirement last was more smoke and mirrors as once again there was never a search for a replacement conducted.

    Selig has the perfect mixture to make his wishes come true. The owners distrust each other and can’t come close to agreeing to a list of candidates nor can they refuse anything when Bud wishes to twist arms.

    The arbitrator finds against you after supporting every other case he’s presided over and he’s fired. Oh and don;t publish that report or give interviews or write a book or we’ll sue you into the poorhouse. That’s our Bud.

    The movement of the Astros to the AL West was a great case of extortion and bribery. It would have made more sense to add San Diego to the AL West as they were also for sale but Bud had leverage on the man who wanted to buy the Astros, he wouldn’t approve it until the man agreed to the move meanwhile the Astros were in limbo. To calm the new owner’s ire Bud “convinced” the old owner to lower the price. If they did that on wall street the feds would lock them up but the antitrust exemption prevents intervention. So next year we have the farce of interleague play every day. They allow teams to add an extra player in some instances but extended road trips and short series will be a nightmare as it was this year. All of that is to force the people to rise up and demand another realignment and likely the use of the dufus hitter universally. I project how the new three division 10 team league in those posts I spoke of earlier. Anyone who thinks Selig cares about the fans as anything but a source of income is sadly mistaken. They are mistake too if they think he will leave office any time before he decides too or dies.