Blog Entry

Bud Selig: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

Posted on: January 17, 2008 6:08 am
Edited on: February 28, 2008 6:47 pm
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Since becoming the acting baseball commissioner following Fay Vincent's resignation in 1992, Bud Selig has been one of the most controversial commissioners the sport has ever had. His decisions over the past 15 seasons have changed the way the game has been played more than any other commissioner in baseball. Whether it has been dealing with labor agreements, creating interleague play, reshaping the playoffs, world series or all-star game, Selig has made many important decisions during his tenure. However, with the steroid cloud now looming over Selig's head, many people in baseball have made Selig out to be a failure and have called for him to resign. In this edition of "the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly," Matt Abedi will tell you whether or not Bud Selig should leave the game.


The Good

One of the best things Bud Selig has done since he became commissioner came before the 1994 season with the development of divisional play, and the creation of a "wild card" team in the playoffs. Before this creation, each league was divided into two divisions, and the best record from each division would meet in the league championship series to determine who goes to the World Series. However, the system had a huge flaw that needed to be fixed and Selig realized this. In some instances, the 2nd place team in one division would have a better record than the first place team in the other, but was denied a chance at the postseason strictly because of the division they were in.

The creation of the wild card team gave good teams a second chance at the world series. While some opponents of the wild card system think that it reduces the importance of winning the pennant, it has brought renewed fan interest back into the game, resulting in greater revenue. In 2001, the Oakland Athletics had the second best record in baseball with 102 wins. The closest team behind them in the American League was seven games back. Under the old system, the 2001 A's would never have made it to the postseason. Selig also introduced the unbalanced schedule in order to silence some of the critics of the system.The wild card has also allowed division rivals to face off against each other in the American League championship series, which has made for some interesting matchups. Could you imagine what baseball would be like without the Red Sox/Yankees matchups in both 2003 and 2004? If the Wild Card never existed, both of the Marlins world series victories would have never happened, the 2002 seven game series between the Angels and Giants would have featured two different teams, and the Red Sox wouldn't have won it all back in 2004.


Without the wild card, Aaron Boone's walk-off home run in 2003 and the Red Sox's historic comeback in 2004 would have never existed.

Among other positives that Selig has accomplished under his reign is that he gave the all-star game some meaning. After the 2002 All-Star Game ended in a 7-7 tie with both teams running out of players, Selig decided to give the players of each league some incentive by granting the winning league in the game home field advantage. The new move made the games a lot more competitive and also made it so managers weren't playing every player on their roster. While the National League has never held the advantage so far, they've had plenty of chances to come away with victories.

In regards to negotiations among the players union and the owners, Selig has also helped avoid any further lockouts or strikes since the one in 1994. In August of 2002, Selig reached a labor agreement with the players association that avoided a strike and in October of 2006, Selig orchestrated another 5 year extension. According to mlb.com, by the end of the new contract, baseball will have had it's longest period of baseball peace since the inception of the collective bargaining agreement.

Looking at the finances of the sport, Selig has seen his revenue totals more than quadruple during his time in office. In 1992, revenue totals for Major League Baseball were $1.2 billion. In 2006, it was reported that the league made $5.2 billion.


The Bad


Among the negative things Selig has brought upon us as commissioner is the invention of interleague play. Although interleague play has drawn fan interest and increased the revenue for the sport, it has had a negative impact on the integrity of the game. With teams winning their divisions by as little as one to two games, interleague play has a huge impact on who makes the playoffs and who watches them. The main problem with interleague play is that there aren't an equal number of teams in both the American and National leagues. Another problem is the insistance that teams play their "interleague rivalry" matchup twice a year. Thus, teams from each division don't get paired up with the same competition as their division rivals. Looking back at the 2007 schedule, many teams in faced teams from all three divisions of the opposite league last season. Why is it that some teams get matched up against harder competition than their division rivals? Basically, if a team can distance themselves by playing easier teams in interleague play than their division rivals, they have a much better shot at winning the division.


While Interleague Play creates great story lines, it is ruining the integrity of the game.

Another one of the main problems that Selig hasn't really addressed is the need for a salary cap in baseball. While his revenue sharing idea is good in theory, it has too many flaws. For one, there is no regulation on the owners of small market teams that are receiving this money. Just take a look at the Florida Marlins current situation as evidence. The money they get from revenue sharing just might be greater than their entire payroll this upcoming season. If that's the case, it would be more beneficial to just contract the team or relocate them (which should be laws by baseball in this regard). In addition, as noted by Doug Pappas of Baseball Prospectus, nothing has been done to really define a small market team. Should we reward a team that is gaining little revenue in a big metropolitan area the same compared to a team that is gaining the same amount of revenue in a small market area? As Pappas very well put, " by focusing entirely on the amount of local revenues a team generates, MLB's revenue sharing formula shortchanges popular, well-run teams in smaller cities while rewarding incompetently managed big-market clubs." The system has too many flaws in it and Selig has never addressed them.


The Ugly


Steroids. Steroids. and well.......more steroids. When news of baseball players using steroids first came up in the news 6-7 years ago with the BALCO case, the initial reaction wasn't as big of an outrage as it is today. However, with Jose Canseco's book, the leaked testimonies of Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi, the embarrassment known as Rafael Palmiero, and the recent findings in the Mitchell Report, fans have begun to realize just how big of an issue this really is. With steroids so prevalent in the sport, how could the commissioner not know about it? In regards to steroids, it seems as if every move the commissioner has made was reactionary to a news event about a player on steroids. Never once was Selig proactive with the matter. Did he even speculate anything when he saw baseball's single season home run record shattered by two players in the same year? How about when it was broken again three seasons later? And if he did speculate it was happening, the fact that he let it continue without taking proactive measures to stop it suggests that he wanted it to happen to gain more revenue for the sport.


Did Selig choose to ignore the drug problems in baseball because of the revenue it created?

It wasn't until Selig was pressed by the media, fans reactions, and Congress that Selig made any sort of attempt to increase the drug testing. And while he did reach an agreement with the players association on the testing, as evidence by the Mitchell report it had way too many flaws in it. The fact that something this big was left untouched this long will haunt Selig's reign as commissioner.


Conclusion

All in all, Bud Selig has done a lot of good things for the game that have benefited the league. In the end, it can be seen that most of his moves were made to generate more revenue in the sport by increasing the fans interest in the game. While fans don't have to worry about another strike because of Selig, they continue to blast him for the steroids issue. Because Selig ignored the steroid problems that the league encountered, his reputation as a great commissioner will forever be tarnished.

When it comes to question of should he resign, I think the answer should be "yes." Selig has done extraordinary things to make the game more interesting, but I really don't see anything else he can truly improve upon any longer while serving as commissioner. The drug problem in baseball is beyond a two year quick fix (he has said he will not be commissioner past 2009), and Selig should let another step in and try to fix it. A new face in the commissioner's office would give the fans hope that the integrity of the game can be restored.


UPDATE: Selig has recently received a contract extension through 2012. Perhaps now he will now have the time to fix the steroid problem in baseball
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Comments

Since: Jan 16, 2008
Posted on: January 22, 2008 1:50 am
 

Bud Selig: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly




Since: Aug 13, 2006
Posted on: January 20, 2008 7:50 am
 

Bud Selig: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

Granted , baseball teams with owners that strive to put a field of players with quality out there and have money to do so brings back fans each year. I can't speak for fans in Oakland ( A's), Twins. They have some good players but their owners think different,lol.

Back to football. Not bragging about the Pats because I'm Boston all the way, but it's obvious they are an elite team this year and imo, there's a second tier of teams below them which we see right now. Maybe put the Pack' and Indy above these 2nd tier teams. Curious to know if the Pats are under the cap? computer illeterate so if you can check it out for me ECWS' I'd appreciate it!

In Football the PATS are the model, but funny with the cap there gonna do what no precap era team has ever done

that my friend speaks volumes about the genius B.B. who has a big say in all trades, drafting etc. & this was accomplished with free agency also!

In closing: Somehow owners must make the right decisions on hiring people below them, put a product on the field that gives the fans a great appeal and tickets get sold. Rockies are a perfect example of this. A team that made wrong decisions with vet players a few years ago, and has now mixed it up and also scouted and gotten quality , young players. Fanbase has enlarged. Yes money does help,lol




Since: Oct 10, 2007
Posted on: January 19, 2008 7:46 pm
 

Bud Selig: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

"I think the owner is more at fault. If he choose the smart people to work under him

Bucky, I could not agree with you any more.  It is up to the ownership to pick apart the aggrement and make it work.  The Pats are the Perfect example of this.  Year in and year out they are able to take advatage.

But Bucky, look at the 70's, 80's and 90's prior to the cap.  It was the same thing we have now. Steelers, Cowboys, 49's, Giants, Bills and now the PATS.

I personally think the Cap has made it almost impossable for the teams who made mistakes to correct them.

What makes BaseBall so greaat is that teams like Boston, New York(Both), Chicago(both) and a few others to correct there Mistakes and generate a cash flow.  Via cable deals and networking.  The truth is every Baseball city has the oppurtunity to generate cash to bail them out.  I take that back about 85% of the teams.  But they wont the initial investment and market research to generate the cash.

 

A salary cap takes away from the cities that have but there business onthe line to do so.  It takes away the reward of the Fan.

In Football the PATS are the model, but funny with the cap there gonna do what no precap era team has ever done.

Thanks for the pump Bucky, god bless things are well.  Thanks again

Plus I cant stand selig




Since: Aug 13, 2006
Posted on: January 19, 2008 5:03 pm
 

Bud Selig: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

Answer this, in the NFL when a player gets dropped cause of Juice where is the outrage.  It dies in days, why cause the commish knows how to handle the scandle.  Honestly the NFL has more scandles and corruption each year on a day to to day compared to Base Ball but they know how to handle it.

ECWS,

I think the very same ( See: my recent post to BP' on th hearing)

on your other post about paroday in the NFL and owners being bussiness like or vise versa:

"I think the owner is more at fault. If he choose the smart people to work under him , he'd make well in the draft, spend less on free agents and work the draft to his advantage. This obviously has the need of good scouting . Take Pioli and B.B. and how they have managed to drum up a Moss, change his attitude to favor the "team concept", pick up Ty Warren's, Wilforks' & Seymours & stay consistently at the top of their game. We'll finally see this happen ( but in time) with the Parcells  hiring. You might have answered your own question when you spoke about yourslef being a business man and making the decisions, some good, some not so good. Hope all goes well in the future btw', as far as your business.




Since: Aug 13, 2006
Posted on: January 19, 2008 4:37 pm
 

Bud Selig: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

1st of all, good stuff BP

I watched the hearing and was shocked & dissapointed at the same time that not one senator asked a "leading question to Selig like:

"Why didn't you halt this steroid ordeal as soon as you knew it was there"? You say you knew, then WHY not take action then?

We all know why he didn't & you explained in some in detail; more fan appeal = rising revenues, plain and simple




Since: Oct 3, 2006
Posted on: January 19, 2008 3:04 pm
 

Bud Selig: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

BP really good stuff, however, I have a question for you. How were you able to get pictures and captions into your blog? Hit me back. Thanks.




Since: Oct 10, 2007
Posted on: January 19, 2008 2:49 pm
 

Bud Selig: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

Selig hasn't really addressed the need for a salary cap in baseball

Tartens -  There is no need for a salary cap in Baseball.  I know your saying thats easy for a yankee fan to say but just look at these points.

  1. The cap has destroyed the NBA.  Caused pure mediocore play at best.  Within the next five years every team will swing from top to bottom and face $ losses that will take years to recupe.
  2. The salary Cap in the NFL, what has it done?  No Really what?  You have the same teams year in and year out fighting for the title. as a matter of Fact in the 80's almost every team had a shot.  They talk about NFL parity.  Is it parity or again just sub par talent due to a cap.
  3. The Cap has killed the NFL free agent market.  The owners have taken no risk with the money the extra money the make.  Not to mention.  Why is the owner allowed to make anything he can but the player can not?
  4. I own a business and the most imortant piece of my company is my star performers.  Without them I would be out of business.  The problem isnt the lack of a cap.  The problem is poor business men who cannot create money to invest in there business and improve there business!  I have to find ways everyday to keep my ATeam rolling.  Pick and choose - somtimes I make the right choice other times i dont.  But its the reaction time to the mistake and how quick can you recoup the loss and generate the funds for sucess.  The Majority of MLB owners are just poor and I mean poor business men who cant buy there way out of a papper bag

 




Since: Oct 10, 2007
Posted on: January 19, 2008 2:31 pm
 

Bud Selig: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

Great piece to read and I agree with you on almost everything but one point.  Let me play Devils advocate, You love the Wild card, but you dont like interleague play cause a loss can kill you for winning the division.

But doesnt the wild card make up for that loss?

Not to mention as a baseball fan, I get to see teams I would never see before.  Also it has now sparked my whole to crew to do a interleague road trip now once year to see the Yanks in a different City.

 

On a Whole I think the fact that an Owner should have no part as commisoner.  I think Selig as a whole is a joke and nothing more than a puppet for the owners.

Answer this, in the NFL when a player gets dropped cause of Juice where is the outrage.  It dies in days, why cause the commish knows how to handle the scandle.  Honestly the NFL has more scandles and corruption each year on a day to to day compared to Base Ball but they know how to handle it.

Needless to say I'm not a fan of Selig at all.  But maybe thats cause my political view is progressive, either way I cant stand him




Since: Aug 11, 2006
Posted on: January 19, 2008 12:18 am
 

Bud Selig: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

That was the initial problem with it. I didn't really like the way Selig handled the 1994 strike. If he would have just been able to get 1 major name on his side, the whole thing would have been over. Because of how the strike was handled, I believe it gave the players association way too much power over the commissioners office. In a sense, the strike made it easier for players to get away with performance enhancing drugs as well, as Selig lost control over the union.
BP you know Selig was only the Acting Commish during the '94 strike right? How could he have full control if the owners didn't allow it...



Since: Nov 14, 2006
Posted on: January 18, 2008 2:18 pm
 

Bud Selig: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

I do have a question for you. Under your bad section, didn't Mr. Selig and most of the owners attempt to introduce a true salary cap/cellar and rev shareing program only to have a few owners not on board with the idea. Didn't those owners and the union brass keep this from happening resulting in the luxory tax system we have now?The way I remember it correctly was that the owners proposed a salary cap during the 1994 strike and Donald Fehr rejected it. The simple fact was, Fehr didn't trust the owners at all because of the collusion scandals in the 80's and early 90's that led to George Steinbrenner getting banned from the game (he was reinstated by Selig in 1993, a year after Selig too control). Remember, MLB owners were forced to pay back $280 million to players as they were convicted of doing so. Because of this, Fehr rejected the proposal.

That was the initial problem with it. I didn't really like the way Selig handled the 1994 strike. If he would have just been able to get 1 major name on his side, the whole thing would have been over. Because of how the strike was handled, I believe it gave the players association way too much power over the commissioners office. In a sense, the strike made it easier for players to get away with performance enhancing drugs as well, as Selig lost control over the union.

Even as things stand now, as mentioned in the initial blog, the revenue sharing system is flawed and Selig hasn't fixed the problems.


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