Showing posts with label Bud Selig. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bud Selig. Show all posts

Friday, June 4, 2010

Baseball's Crap Sandwich of a Week

There are really two posts here, but I'll talk about them as one subject. Baseball has had a really, really crappy week.

The end of Ken Griffey Jr.'s career in baseball is the biggest news, and the way that Griffey went out is sad and pathetic. He should have been evaluated in spring training and asked to retire before the season got off to a start. If they knew then that he wasn't hitting, why subject him to an April and a May of misery?

This is an example of terrible managing. Griffey may have wanted to work through these issues, but a real manager would have evaluated his potential as a contributor and gone from there. Baseball is the least sentimental of sports. If you can't play, you get off the roster. No team can afford to carry dead weight. Griffey is a first round lock on the Hall of Fame. Anything less is a travesty. He is a poster child for playing the game the right way.

This is the least surprising story, however:
Commissioner Bud Selig won't reverse an umpire's admitted blown call that cost Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga a perfect game.
[+] EnlargeJim Joyce
AP Photo/Paul Sancya
Umpire Jim Joyce tries to explain himself to Tigers players after his missed call cost pitcher Armando Galarraga a perfect game Wednesday. Joyce's call will stand, commissioner Bud Selig said.
Selig said Thursday that Major League Baseball will look at expanded replay and umpiring, but didn't specifically address umpire Jim Joyce's botched call Wednesday night.
A baseball official familiar with the decision confirmed to The Associated Press that the call was not being reversed. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because that element was not included in Selig's statement.
Joyce said he erred on what would've been the final out in Detroit, where theTigers beat Cleveland 3-0. The umpire personally apologized to Galarraga and hugged him after the game, then took the field at Comerica Park on Thursday in tears.
"It was the biggest call of my career, and I kicked the [stuff] out of it," a distraught Joyce said Wednesday night. "I just cost that kid a perfect game."
Detroit general manager Dave Dombrowski had said the team wouldn't ask MLB to overturn the call. The mistake denied Galarraga the 21st perfect game in history, and the first for the Tigers.

Bud Selig isn't about to lead or do what is in the best interests of baseball. Bud Selig will never make the fans happy and he will never do anything that will make people want to watch baseball. The continued success of the sport is in spite of, and certainly not because of, his tenure as the corporate enabler of Baseball Inc. If baseball's anti-trust exemption ended tomorrow, I would be ecstatic. If the government of the United States were to step in and appoint a commissioner of baseball who answers to no one, fine and dandy.
What he will do is this: he will prevent a young pitcher from gaining immortality in order to downplay the fact that the steroid era, which is now over, really was a travesty against baseball. Rather than throw out the tainted statistics and records attained by dozens, if not hundreds of players, Selig is going to prevent the attention from being focused on the fact that pitching has improved because hitters are no longer juiced. Selig is going to prevent a young man from getting his perfect game so that the team he plays for does not have to pay him more money.
Until and unless the steroid era is effectively dealt with--which begins with throwing out everything Barry Bonds has done since the late 1990s and restoring the home run records to Roger Maris and Hank Aaron--forget it. Cheating is cheating, but perfection is perfection.
Armando Gallaraga is better than the sport he plays.

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Friday, July 31, 2009

Give it a rest

Oh, please--please tell me you're joking with this crap:

When it comes to the sham that is the Boston Red Sox's championship legacy during the 21st century, it's about the New York Yankees.

It's always been about the Yankees with the Red Sox.

More specifically, it's always been about Yogi Berra's quote for the ages regarding the Red Sox toward his Yankees: "They'll never beat us."

And they haven't. Not legitimately. Especially not given the latest news that David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez formed an artificially inflated duo to slug the Red Sox to those World Series titles in 2004 and 2007.

Ortiz confirmed through the players' association that he tested positive for drug use in 2003, and sources told the New York Times' Web site that Ramirez did the same. So Ramirez is at least a two-time loser. He served a 50-game suspension earlier this year for violating baseball's drug policy.

All of this means several things. It means the Bloody Sock becomes just a bloody sock. It means Theo Epstein looks more like an opportunist than a whiz kid (in addition to acquiring Ortiz, he grabbed reliever Eric Gagne, another steroid guy). It means those contributing to Fenway Park's record for consecutive sellouts at home are among the bamboozled. It means the rise of the Red Sox Nation is headed for a dramatic collapse, even sooner than I predicted in this space a few weeks ago.

Calm down, Poindexter. No one's talking collapse just yet.

The idea that any title, record, statistic or victory is legitimate or not due to the taint of the steroid era rests with your non-Commissioner of Baseball, the venerable Bud Selig, who will not touch controversy. He will not deal with any issue that might cause money to evaporate from the grubbing mitts of the owners who empower him to keep their money from even getting close to the evaporation phase of existence.

Here's what we should do--invalidate everything or nothing, and then shut up about it. The 2000 Yankees are nothing to be proud of either, by the way:

When the Yankees won their third successive World Series and fourth in five years in 2000, Torre, their manager, was hailed as an automatic entrant to the Hall of Fame. Now, however, it develops that the Yankees' 2000 team was loaded with players who used performance-enhancing drugs before, during or after that season.

Between the Mitchell report and unsealed affidavits filed by law enforcement officials, the count has reached 10, including Clemens, Denny Neagle and Jason Grimsley. Others named included Andy Pettitte, Chuck Knoblauch, Mike Stanton and David Justice, but the use for which they are cited occurred after the 2000 World Series.

It may be far-fetched to question whether Torre could be tainted by the steroids fallout, but there are critics who say baseball should do something about records possibly enhanced by steroids use, so why should a team be any different from a player? If you want to question many of Bonds's 762 home runs and Clemens's 354 victories, look at teams' achievements, too.

According to the Mitchell report, Clemens used steroids in the latter half of the 2000 season. Neagle played for the Yankees in the latter half of that season and, according to Mitchell, used human growth hormone.

Sports blogging really could use some cleaning up. It's as if they don't think people can actually read. This notion that a comparison of the rivalry of the teams of the 1950s matters a whit today is phony nostalgia, nothing more. Baseball is more than phony nostalgia and hazy memories masquerading as profound analysis. Should we pine for the 1909 season, and what it means to today's Pittsburgh Pirates to know that the lofty achievements of that season's team--a first place finish and a championship--mean nothing as they unload players?

Come on. Find something meaningful to write about.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Baseball will never clean up its act under Bud Selig

In what had to be a foregone conclusion, it was recently revealed that Sammy Sosa had tested positive for steroids in 2003. Feigned shock and surprise soon followed.

There's the question of due process, which clearly went by the wayside when the results of the "survey" of players taken in 2003 were initially leaked to the press, then there's my opinion, which triumphs over all other considerations. But first, the details:

A saying exists in baseball that the smartest person in any clubhouse is the guy with either the highest batting average or the most consecutive zeroes on his paycheck.

In other words, the superstars -- smart or dumb; black, white, Latino or Asian; old or young -- run the show. They control clubhouse thought through the intimidation of their talent. Everyone without their ability either falls in line or risks the kind of peer-pressurized alienation most of us escaped moments after graduating from high school.

Keep that in mind as you consider the New York Times report that Sammy Sosa is one of the 104 players who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in baseball's 2003 survey testing because the news should not be met with an indifferent yawn, as if Sosa is just another in a long line of Hall of Fame-caliber talent biting the dust: Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez and now Sosa, all in the first half of the 2009 season alone. Instead, this news should be greeted with the kind of outrage reserved for the worst breaches of trust because you, Mr. and Mrs. Fan, have been taken for a very special kind of ride.

Nobody has been taken for a ride--steroids in baseball happened because of the fact that baseball has no functioning commissioner. Bud Selig is not the "commissioner" of baseball. He is the corporate enabler. If it benefits the ownership, Selig is for it. If it is something that ensures fairness, stays true to the spirit of the game, makes the fans happy, and only costs the owners another nickel, Selig will likely come down on the side of keeping that nickel in the hands of the owners, and then come up with something to get them another nickel they don't have coming to them. Until the once-adversarial relationship between the commission of baseball and the baseball ownership is restored, there will never be actual governance of the conduct of anyone affiliated with Major League Baseball.

In my world, which is that of a conservative Republican who has made more money than God, Selig is himself a God. A colossus bestride the prostrate body of a ravaged institution. You know that cartoon where the big guy shakes the little guy upside down until all of the coins fly out of the little guy's pockets? That's Bud Selig doing the shaking. You? You with the dirty shirt and the finger in your mouth? You're the little guy.

I am very much a pro-business type individual. There's a part of me that says that hoi polloi can stuff it--since the owners assume the risk, the owners deserve to reap the rewards. I do draw the line through baseball because I am a fan, and I want fairness, and it bothers me a great deal that someone cheated to win without first telling me about it. Due to the fact that I wasn't in on this from the beginning, I feel like an outsider.

Now, being an outsider who has given my money to baseball to watch people cheat through the years makes me cranky, and my expression of this crankiness is to say that baseball had it coming. Baseball deserves bad press right now. And baseball has no functioning commissioner who can address the problems. I'm certain that Selig has a plan to make the owners more money, but I doubt very seriously that Selig has a plan to do what is right. Expect more cheating.

In the case of Sammy Sosa, he's in trouble:

A congressional committee will look into former baseball slugger Sammy Sosa's denial that he used illegal performance-enhancing drugs in light of a report that he tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug in 2003.

"The Oversight and Government Reform Committee always takes seriously suggestions that a witness misled the committee while testifying under oath," Rep. Edolphus Towns, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, said in a statement. "Investigators will begin a review of this matter and, upon learning the results, I will determine appropriate next steps."

In 2005, Sosa told Congress that he had never taken illegal performance-enhancing drugs. The New York Times reported Tuesday that Sosa tested positive two years before his appearance at a House hearing.

Greg Bouris, director of communications for the MLBPA, said the union had no comment on the matter.

For years, the discussion about performance-enhancing drugs has existed within a structure that always has benefited the players. In the late 1990s, there was the argument that steroids did not exist in large measure, that players were the victims of a "witch hunt." Then, as high-profile players began to get caught using steroids and a league-administered drug policy was implemented, the new paradigm was that Player X could not be suspected because he had never failed a drug test.

Lying to Congress is really not a big deal. Oil company executives, generals, and politically connected cronies do it with great ease. Ethically, there's nothing wrong with lying to Congress because Congress is the home of the liar, the preserve of the cheat, and the playground of the despoilers of democracy. It isn't about getting to the truth. It's about getting someone in the crosshairs and destroying them with trumped-up evidence when it becomes politically expedient to do so.

The solution is simple. Strike the numbers.

Strike the victories of Roger Clemens, strike the batting statistics of the batters like Sosa and Rodriguez, and strike the record held by Barry Bonds, should he be convicted. The process should be very simple--once someone is found to have cheated, their numbers disappear. If Alabama can be compelled to vacate victories for cheating, then baseball must find a way to use the nuclear option of severing the players from their essential statistics.

If you subtract five or six years worth of numbers from some of these players, they will still be eligible for the Hall of Fame, except for the fact that by virtue of being deducted statistics, they rendered themselves ineligible for life.

Trust me, none of this will ever happen. It will cost the owners that nickel. It will cost them bobblehead day promotions and the extra money from TV revenue from running the cheesy half hour pieces on this pay-cable networks that do a lousy job of spotlighting past players and their glory.

You should always bet on the owners with Selig at the helm.