Baseball Battle! Has Bud Selig actually done a good job as commissioner?
The rumor mill has been swirling that Bud Selig is going to be offered a contract extension as Commissioner of Baseball. If he gets it, that will almost guarantee that he'll be the longest tenured commissioner in the history of the sport. Longer than Kenesaw Mountain Landis. Longer than anyone. Not bad for somebody who seemed be labelled "interim" commissioner until about two years ago.
Ah, yes, Buddy Selig. The man with the nine-dollar haircut and the eleven-dollar suit jacket. Buddy Selig, the man who sold so many gosh-darned cars off the lot he could afford to buy a baseball team and bring it to Milwaukee. Buddy Selig, the magic man who decided an All-Star game should end in a tie. Buddy Selig, that white hot ball of charisma who oversaw the first cancellation of a World Series since 1904, something that Pearl Harbor or D-Day couldn't even accomplish.
Yes, sports fans, Bud Selig makes for an elegantly easy punching back for your sports punchline. He certainly does for mine. But here's the thing: it turns out that he might actually be doing a really good job. I became a baseball fan in the early-to-mid-1990s, and back then, one of every three articles about baseball were that it was either (a) dying or (b) dead. When Cal Ripken broke Lou Gehrig's streak, it was treated as if that was something that was going to save the sport from oblivion. Or was it Sosa and McGwire's home run chase?
Basically, the gist of my childhood was that in becoming a baseball fanatic, I had backed the wrong horse.
But in the fifteen years hence, it seems that baseball has become healthier than ever. Revenues are skyrocketing. MLB's Advanced Media division is making great use of the web. New stadiums are being gleefully provided by their local municipalities (believe me, we can reckon that one later). Things are generally upbeat in the world of baseball, which is something I'm not accustomed to. And this is all as the commissioners of the other major North American sports -- Goodell, Stern, and Bettman -- have all been busy eating their shoes.
Could Bud Selig secretly be doing a really good job as commissioner? Tell me, Reckonauts, have I been wrong all along?