|Bud Selig - What has he done for the game?||| Print ||
Written by Jonathan Leshanski (Contact & Archive) on June 30, 2003
Interleague Play: This was designed to try to rekindle interest in a game that has been eroded by many other competing businesses seeking the fan dollar. It has been a limited success with some cross league rivalries and series being sellouts (Giants-A’s, Dodgers-Angels, Cubs-White Sox) and good for business - but it has had the cost of some bad mismatches that have damaged the integrity of overall records.
The Unbalanced Schedule: Again, this was implemented to foster more local rivalry and boost fan attendance. It may have worked briefly but I think overall it has fizzled. The real rivalries still sell out games, maybe even a few more - but 19 games of Baltimore -Tampa Bay is just unfair to all fans. It also skews records badly as teams like the Twins are matched up with Cleveland, Detroit and other weak central teams too many times for us to count.
Revenue Sharing: A great idea in theory, however the revenue sharing plan does not force teams to match or even to spend the revenue given to them for improvements to their teams; it can go right into an owner’s pocket. If that loophole could be closed I would applaud it.
The Wild Card and an additional round of playoffs: This has been a success despite the baseball purists’ hatred of the loss of a true pennant race. The primary reason for it’s success is due to the fact that it keeps fans in many divisions interested – sometimes down to the last day of the season - despite their teams being blown away by a superior team within their division. Quite a few wild card teams have made it to the World Series and the wild card Angels even won it.
The Drug Policy: Well at least they have one now. Even if it has absolutely no teeth, enforceability or punishments. It even tests for steroids (yeah right).
The Luxury Tax: Teams that spend more than a certain amount of payroll are required to pay a luxury tax, which contrary to popular opinion does not go into revenue sharing - it goes into a fund for the players union (for disabled players, or retirement or something which I can’t recall right now).
The All Star Game Experiment: This is something that many people disagree on but I like the fact that the All Star Game will actually end up meaning something. I have always found All Star weekend a miserable three-day break, which disrupts a perfectly good season. This year I might actually watch the game.
In addition, Selig has presided over baseball during the strike-shortened season of 1994 and played a part in negotiating the new collective bargaining agreement that prevented a 2002 strike. How much of that had to do with Selig is constantly debated, as many fans (myself included) vowed to give up the game if the millionaires and billionaires took out their squabbles on the fans that allow them to make so much money.
Selig’s tenure as commissioner (and before that as acting commissioner) started on September 7, 1992 and continues today. Without a question he, as most commissioners past, is an owners’ commissioner but he has tried. Even if you dislike most of his changes, there is no question that his term has been an active one. For better or for worse, Bud Selig has changed the game. The questions of his judgment can be debated over and over and his talks with Pete Rose have stirred up large amounts of controversy, but Selig will never be remembered as a commissioner who sat on his hands.