Some Modest Suggestions for Bud Selig, MLB Commissioner for Life
In case you missed the news last week, Bud Selig's contract to be the commissioner of Major League Baseball has been extended another two years -- this coming after Selig had announced several years ago that he was retiring at the end of his current contract, which in turn followed up on Selig having said way back when that he would retire at the end of his original contract.
Yep, we're still stuck with this bozo.
This move was met with much acclaim by the baseball establishment, with many people saying he's the best commissioner the sport's ever had. There's some validity to this argument, of course. Attendance is at an all-time high. There hasn't been a work stoppage since the 1994 season.
Playoffs have been successfully expanded, 20 teams have brand-new taxpayer-funded palaces. And the launch of the MLB Network was one of the most successful launches of a professional sports television network ever -- the NFL Network, which has been around a lot longer, still has nowhere near the cable penetration of the MLB Network.
There have been problems, of course. There's the whole loss of the 1994 season. And the awful treatment of fans and players of the Montreal Expos. There's that whole steroids thing which Selig let simmer for years before attempting to do something about it and in turn tarnishing the reputation of some of the game's greatest players. The SEC is investigating the Miami Marlins and how they went about getting their stadium built. The owner of the Mets is caught up in the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme.
The sale of the San Diego Padres was just postponed because the rest of the owners wanted to see how the actual financing of the purchase was going to work. There's the Frank McCourt-Los Angeles Dodgers fiasco. And let's not delve into how there are several clubs -- the Pittsburgh Pirates, Baltimore Orioles and Kansas City Royals -- who have made no attempts to field legitimate teams this century.
So yeah, Bud Selig is better than David Stern and Roger Goodell and Gary Bettman. But that's kind of like saying George W. Bush is smarter than Rick Perry in that it says more about the rest of the commissioners than it actually does about Selig.
By-and-by, however, while Selig's tenure has been successful, there are some things he hasn't gotten around to doing, and they're things that are key to the future success of the league. With his contract extended another two years, he's still got some time to rectify these matters.
5. EXPANDED REPLAY: Hey, MLB finally got around to adopting replay review to decide if a ball's a home run or not -- this came, of course, after the Yankees got jacked around by a missed call. And for this upcoming season, replay can be used to determine if a ball is fair or foul, whether a ball was caught or trapped, and whether or not there was fan interference.
Just let the roiders in.
But there's no reason that replay's not used for plays at the plate or at any base. And maybe it's time that replay was used for ball/strike calls. A pitch should be called based on where it crossed the plate, not on the reputation of the pitcher or batter.
4. QUICKENING GAMES: Selig and MLB make a half-hearted effort every season to enforce the length of games, but each year, not much gets done. This shouldn't be hard as there are rules in the book allowing the home plate ump to call a strike on a batter who takes too long to get set, and he can also call a ball for a pitcher who takes too long to throw the pitch.
It should be mandated that the umpires actually start calling this, and if they don't want to, then they're suspended for multiple games. There's no reason why a batter has to step outside the box after every single pitch. There's also no compelling reason for a pitcher to continuously step off of the mound time and time again between pitches.
Games do tend to be too long, and if anything's going to quicken this, it's going to be enforcing the rules on the book about time between pitches.
3. STOP MAKING THE ALL-STAR GAME COUNT: Is there anything more bizarre than home field advantage for the World Series being determined by the outcome of an exhibition game? Especially when most of those guys determining the outcome will only be able to get to the World Series by purchasing a ticket.
The NBA and the NHL seem to be able to handle this easily: The team with the best record gets home field advantage. And if Gary Bettman and the NHL can pull this off, then surely MLB can handle it.
2. STOP WAITING WEEKS TO HOLD APPEAL HEARINGS ON PLAYER SUSPENSIONS: This is the 21st century. There's no reason that these appeals have to be heard in person before Bud. What happens, especially with pitchers, is that they appeal to get their next start, especially if it's an important start, then drop the appeal after the start. Just get on Skype and hold the hearing the next day. Make sure the guy's player rep is with him, and get to it.
1. GIVE THE BLESSING FOR 'ROIDERS TO THE HALL OF FAME: The writers are being nothing but whining babies on this issue, and many are hiding behind the they're-waiting-for-guidance answer when asked about whether they'll vote for Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens. So give them the blessing to vote for him.
Baseball sure didn't seem to care about the players and steroids in the late-`90s, so there's no need for those guys to be punished when nobody in baseball management is going to be punished over it.
Follow Hair Balls News on Facebook and on Twitter @HairBallsNews.