|Baseball Has Become A Farce||| Print ||
Written by Jonathan Leshanski (Contact & Archive) on February 18, 2009
Baseball has become a farce and the fault lies squarely on the shoulders of Bud Selig.Â Now in the face of more and more of baseballâ€™s dirty secrets coming to the light, Selig is pretending to be above it, trying to take credit for all that was good in the game while attempting to shift the blame for the problems of the steroid era.
This was baseballâ€™s second Dark Age; ranking only behind the racially segregated era of baseball as far as the gameâ€™s history goes.Â And it cannot be overlooked who was at the helm.Â Seligâ€™s claims that steroid use wasnâ€™t his fault, that he didnâ€™t know, that the Union blocked all efforts to fix things sounds about as honest as the words of Bonds, Clemens and A-Rod in the way that they explained their involvement with PEDS.
The fact is that the powers that be, including Bud Selig knew exactly why the baseballs were flying out of the park in record numbers.Â There were plenty of players that spoke up, and wondered when baseball was finally going to clamp down on the cheating.Â And the powers that be, in the clubhouse, in the union, and in the office of the Commissioner of Baseball, either ignored those voices, or helped to silence them.
That wasnâ€™t a minor issue.Â Steroid use was an epidemic.Â And instead of treating it, or making the results, if not the names public, Selig made his decision.Â He did what baseball does best when there is a crisis.Â He tried to sweep it under the rug rather than deal with a crisis unrivaled in the history of the game.
Selig could have used those test results as a sledgehammer even without disclosing names--no matter what the union said or how hard it tried to obstruct the passing of a drug policy.Â No, that hammer could have broken the wall of silence long before Jose Canseco, and his book, â€śJuiced,â€ť did the deed.Â Selig had the right tool in his hands, he would have had allies in the media, he would have had allies among the players, and he would have had the American people and all of the lawmakers standing behind him, if he tried to clean up the game then.
He could have been a hero.Â He could have been remembered as the modern day Kennesaw Mountain Landis-- the man who saved the game in its darkest hour.Â It would have been his finest moment.Â Instead he proved himself to be an incompetent stooge.
Let him claim he cleaned up the game, let him talk about the drug policy currently in place, let him take credit for the great things that have happened in the game.Â Itâ€™s all hollow.Â Steroids will be Seligâ€™s legacy.
Actually, Selig did accomplish one great thing.Â He made it very clear to us and hopefully to Congress that baseball cannot be trusted to police itself.Â Now itâ€™s time to find a remedy ideally one which not only mandates a transparent drug policy, but one run by an independent body, with severe penalties--like a two year ban--which occurs immediately upon a positive result.
Yes, I think that baseball needs the help of Congress, not just to put a drug policy in place, but to redefine the role of commissioner as the protector of the game.Â To give him power to suspend, to ban and censure players without arbitration.Â Perhaps if Selig had been given that power, he could have been a commissioner rather than a coward who thought himself impotent when the game needed him most.