Thursday, August 14, 2014
BASEBALL'S NOT BETTER BECAUSE OF SELIG... IT'S WORSE
Yesterday MLB owners are meeting in Baltimore to vote for the man who will replace commissioner Bud Selig. As a baseball fan, I have been awaiting Selig’s exit from the front office for many years. The imminence of his departure instills a joy in me that is on par with seeing Tommy Lasorda submarine the Phillie Phanatic.
I’ve always considered Selig to be a weenie of the L7 variety. His achievements as commissioner include creating an award and giving it to himself and his lasting legacy may be making A-Rod seem like a sympathetic guy.
Though Selig worked hard in recent years to clean up a sport that was riddled with steroid scandals, his efforts seemed hypocritical—when record-breaking home run performances brought baseball back to life after a damaging strike in 1994, Selig all but turned a blind eye to the problem then came out to condemn the very heroes (ahem, Bonds) that he helped to enable. Read BUD SELIG'S WAR AGAINST PEDS...PAST AND PRESENT for more.
While in most in the media agree Selig will leave behind a “complex legacy” after his 22 years at the helm, I mostly see his reign as a total failure. Baseball has made strides in recovering from the steroid crisis, but the MLB brand lags behind when compared to the explosive popularity of the NFL and NBA. Considering that the NFL is experiencing major problems of the concussion and violent behavior variety, I can only see the stagnation in baseball’s growth and ability to reestablish the game as THE national pastime as a missed opportunity and a product of failed leadership. Hell, even soccer has now caught up to baseball in popularity amongst young kids. SOCCER.
To hear all the ways that the MLB is in trouble with younger audiences, just listen to this commentary by Keith Olbermann:
Reports from the NY Times suggest that the top three candidates for Selig’s job include Rob Manfred (MLB chief operating officer), Tim Brosnan (MLB executive vice president of business), and Tom Werner (owner of the Red Sox).
Manfred—who was hand-picked by Selig to inherit his title—seemed like a guarantee for the position earlier in the year, but has faced growing opposition from team owners as of late—mainly in the form of Tom Werner.
While the voting process could get messy, the next commissioner will need to rely on innovative ideas to elevate the game and capture the attention of younger audiences. Baseball's future depends on it.
--Alexis Garcia, BYB's "Eye on MLB" Columnist
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