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.