This one still doesn't sit well with me. I had the same visceral reaction last week when I saw this in the news as I do every time I talk about it with fellow fans. I cannot understand how in the world Bud Selig got elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. It's eating at me. For a long time, he represented everything that is wrong with the game. Now he will be forever enshrined in honor of his good work for the game.
There was an article by Phil Mushnick last week and again earlier this week talking about this. In case you don't know Phil, he's a reporter for the New York Post, an old curmudgeon that has a gift for stringing words together to blast things that usually should be blasted. Phil took aim at the Bud Selig's Hall of Fame confirmation, citing his focus on dollars at the expense of the quality and character of the game (read: Baseball Hall of Fame’s Bud Selig Hypocrisy an Embarrassment).
Baseball's biggest black eye in recent history has been the issue of steroid use among players. It threw the credibility of players' record-setting accomplishments into question even among its biggest supporters. Nowhere is the issue more prominent than in the Hall of Fame. Lots of players who, in their playing days, had records which would have guaranteed entry are now struggling to get even a modest showing among BBWAA voters. Fans everywhere debate what the criteria should be for a generation of players largely accused of cheating as a whole. Just think about the fact that baseball's all-time home run leader got above the halfway mark for election into the Hall for the first time this past year on his fourth try. The state of affairs of baseball is tragic.
Bud Selig presided over this era and is openly accused of implicit approval by his silence on the issue. Baseball was recovering from it's previous "biggest black eye" - the 1994 strike and subsequent cancellation of the World Series. Fans were starting to come back in large numbers and bringing their cash with them. As the charge goes, and Mushnick is in great support of it, Selig was not going to stop the cash flow and impede players' ability to hit more home runs and generate more excitement, even in the interest of the game's integrity. By the way, Selig presided over the 1994 work stoppage too. But I digress.
To his credit, Selig did introduce some good things to baseball. We have interleague play, expanded divisions, and the wildcard thanks to Bud Selig. We also have the luxury tax thanks to him. While it is the bane of the Yankees existence, most baseball purists believe it makes the game more competitive for small market teams and people view it positively. I'll save my 2 cents on that topic for another time. I'll end this with a quote by Mushnick of one of his readers on how this all feels to me. “Selig set fire to the building and now he’s rewarded for calling the fire department.”
--Ike Dimitriadis, BYB Contributor
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