Tag Archives: bud selig

Bud Selig: I Am the Worst

I am the worst. The absolute worst. Oh my god, you would not believe. I am just a shitty person in every conceivable way. Think of a way a man can be terrible and I will guarantee you that I have done it or am doing it as we speak.

Children scatter when I walk down the street. Flowers wilt. Dogs growl. You feel a chill in the air that you can only feel when in the presence of a horrible, horrible human being.

When you’re this awful, it’s hard to do things that reinforce your awfulness. People come to expect you do the the worst thing at all times. That’s when I pride myself in digging deep and finding new ways to turn people’s stomachs.

Not allowing a team to wear hats in tribute to 9/11 first responders because of MLB’s lucrative contract with New Era? That’s pretty bad. But demanding a player who dared defy it take off his cap posthaste, midgame, even though he only wore it in the dugout? That’s the kind of mind-numbingly bureaucratic horse-shittery that only a true scumbag could pull off. And to top it off, I make one of my cowering lickspittles take the fall for the decision. Yes, kneel before me, Joe Torre! Who knows where you might be if not for my criminally lax steroid policies?

And I do this all while doing nothing to fix the many ills that actually plague the sport for which I am the supposed caretaker. It’s the 21st century and my stupid sport that I hate and can’t stand doesn’t use instant replay, yet I pretend to be concerned with caps? That is some weapons-grade horse-shittery, if I do say so myself.

I wake up every day, look myself in the mirror, and before it cracks in disgust at having to reflect my hateful image, say to myself, “Today I will be the worst me I can be.” Then I set something in the yard on fire and blame it on the neighbors’ weird kids. On the way to work, I try to hit as many squirrels with my car as possible. My record is 12. I once hit at least one squirrel on five consecutive blocks. I’m like the Joe DiMaggio of killing small animals! And when I get to work, I see how quickly I can make my secretary cry.

I eat poop. Constantly. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Midnight snacks, too. Not always my own, either. Whatever I can find. I am that disgusting.

Hoping I’ll retire due to old age so someone not hideous can run baseball? Never gonna happen! I have used the Dark Arts to prolong the usefulness of this withered husk of a mortal shell. I am constantly protected by two hulking demons, who remain at my side at all times. Only those as wretched as me can see them! I will outlive you, your grandchildren, the pyramids themselves!

I am fucking terrible and can not be stopped! Ever! Play ball, you brainless insects!

Bud, You Ignorant Slut

I’m sure Jerry Meals is a decent guy. Or at least I have no real evidence to suggest he’s not, so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. I don’t think he made one of the worst calls in the history of professional sports last night because he’s a terrible person. I don’t even think he did it because he was exhausted after 19 innings and just wanted to go to sleep. At least not consciously.

What I do think happened is that, with runners at the corners and one out in the bottom of the 19th, he figured the end was nigh. He visualized making a safe call at home and sending the home crowd home happy (what was left of it, anyway). He figured that if the hitter put his bat on the ball, one way or another this game was over. He figured this so much that when a ball was put in play, he couldn’t see anything else, even though every single other person in the known universe could.

It was a terrible, laughable, sorry excuse for an umpiring call, but I believe it was an honest mistake. He shouldn’t have to apologize today. Well, he probably should apologize, and he sort of has already. But the person who really needs to apologize is Bud Selig. His inexplicable clinging to antiquated ideas about replay means there was no mechanism to overturn Meals’ call. That is far more inexcusable than anything Meals did.

If you want to know why baseball has lost so much ground to other sports, this is a prime reason: It is the only sport where we actually debate whether getting things right might violate some notion of what the game means. Every decision about how to modernize baseball carries with it the weight of history and religious reverence. There are people who fear that any innovation may somehow prevent fathers from playing catch with their sons or grabbing a hot dog at the game. Every other sport–every other sport–changes its rules with insane regularity and nobody bats an eye. Baseball needs to start doing the same, the whining traditionalists be damned, or else devolve into an athletic cousin of Civil War recreation.

Last year, when Armando Galarraga was cheated out of a perfect game because of a bad call at first base, we were supposed to be salved by the grand gestures of good sportsmanship put on by the pitcher in its immediate aftermath. Oh, look at that, Galarraga brought out the lineup card! What a trooper! We’ve all learned a valuable lesson about being good sports! Hurray! We’re all getting pizza after the game!

That’s wonderful fluff for the Mitch Alboms of the world. The rest of us would rather see a game that can reverse terrible calls and have an actual sense of justice. Bud Selig, rather than take this opportunity to press for replay, instead emphasized the Albom-ian cheesiness of it all and let a chance to improve his game fade away along with the outrage. It was like saying that slamming your car into ditch taught you a lesson about not driving so fast into ditches, when the lesson you should take from that experience is to not drive into ditches at all.

Sports are meaningless without an assumption of fairness. The participants have to believe that everything is on the level to put forward their best effort. If you get screwed out of a win and the guy in charge just shrugs his shoulders, that’s not a sport. That’s a shell game.

I’ve puzzled for a while as to why Bud Selig is so hidebound on this issue, when he’s had no problem changing baseball in drastic ways elsewhere. During his tenure as commissioner, he’s added four expansion teams, restructured the divisions, moved one team from the AL to the NL (Brewers) and allowed another to wither and die (Expos), added a wild card berth and whole extra round for the playoffs (and is considering even more), aggressively took on both the players’ and umpires’ unions, oversaw the construction of the most new stadiums in the history of the game, allowed an astronomical amount of ownership changes, made the All Star Game determine home-field advantage in the World Series for some fakakte reason…need I go on? If you look at his record, Selig has done virtually nothing but alter the game of baseball. Why is replay so beyond the pale for him?

And then I figured it out: Every single one of the items I mentioned made Bud Selig and the other owners money. Bud Selig has no incentive to push for replay, no passion for the issue, because it will not line his pockets or the pockets of his buddies. Though he divested his stake in the Brewers a while ago, he clearly retains an owner’s mentality and sense of values, which essentially boils down to What’s in it for me?

There is nothing in replay for him apart from the added cost of outfitting stadiums with video equipment and hiring new umpires to man them. The cost of not adding replay is minimal and ephemeral–basically, he gets yelled at by guys like me when the Jerry Meals of the game fuck up, and that’s about it. A billionaire can handle being yelled at if it means he won’t lose any money.

Of course, there are long term costs to not adopting replay, such as failure to attract new/younger fans who can’t abide such idiocy. How can baseball possibly entice a generation of sports fans for whom the idea of not being able to overturn a bad call is unthinkable? Imagine if the Meals call happened in a football game. There’d be car-fllipping riots in the streets. The survivors would envy the dead.

Outside of Jackie Robinson, baseball has never been ahead of the curve, and it has never changed its worst, most damaging features until it was almost too late. Gambling, for instance, plagued the sport for decades before the ugly Black Sox scandal blew up. It allowed owners’ collusion to continue unfettered, which fostered resentment among the player and may have been the biggest factor in the 1994 strike (even if Ken Burns’ The Tenth Inning didn’t mention it at all). It had no PED policy to speak of for far too long, which both allowed steroids to flourish and made MLB’s response to the problem (once McGwire and Sosa couldn’t “save” the game any more) hamfisted and incomplete.

Baseball doesn’t have to exist. There’s a lot of entertainment out there competing for people’s dollars and attention, entertainment that doesn’t pull the rug out from under people’s feet with no recourse for retribution. At some point, people are going to decide that they can’t watch this antiquated shadow of a sport just because of apple pie and mom. If Selig doesn’t institute replay, and soon, the next terrible call will not generate any outrage at all, because no one will be watching.

Bud Selig Lays Down The Jeter Rules

In the wake of the tragic news that Derek Jeter has injured his calf, I declare a temporary suspension of play throughout Major League Baseball as a sign of respect and mourning, until such time as The Captain is able to play to the fullest of his gritty, gutty abilities. Without the game’s most beloved player, we at the MLB front offices figured there was just no point to playing any of these games. Everything seems kind of pointless without his bright, shining face to light the way. Why bother, really?

For those fans who want to keep track of Jeter’s medical progress–and really, what true baseball fan wouldn’t?–we have created a revolutionary Calf Cam. With the use of cutting edge nanotechnology, MLB has inserted a tiny subcutaneous HD camera in Jeter’s leg so that all fans can watch his muscles healing in real time. I’m sure it will be even more entertaining than the MLB Amateur Draft!

Once Jeter is ready to return to action, there will be a celebratory parade down Fifth Avenue, followed by a resumption of the regular season schedule at Yankee Stadium. Henceforth, all Yankee games shall be played in the Bronx until the legendary shortstop gets his eagerly anticipated 3000th hit. Opponents shall be compensated for loss of home games with complimentary “Jeter: Mr. 3000” t-shirts and a coupon for half off one order of fries at NYY Steak.

If Jeter is sitting on 2,999 hits, and a ball off of his bat is hit too close to the foul line to be called by an umpire’s naked eye, I shall allow a video review to take place. The import of such a moment would be far too great to allow human error to enter the equation. I mean, we’re not talking about a playoff game here!

All stadiums will be required to show Yankees game on an appropriately sized jumbtron visible to all patrons until this historic moment finally occurs. Failure to do so will result in serious fines and loss of draft picks.

With your help, we can get through this trying time. Huddle close with your loved ones and offer up a silent prayer that we can weather this storm. God help us all.

Take Me Out to the Nuthouse

As you’ve probably heard, Glenn Beck is leaving FOX News to spend more time with his tinfoil hats. There was a very interesting article in New York recently about how Beck made everyone at FOX very rich but probably cost the Republicans the next presidential election with his special brand of divisive wing-nuttery. The article basically said his conspiracy theories and apparent belief that he is a vessel for the word of Jebus got so out of hand that even Roger Ailes had enough and told Beck to hit the bricks.

In truth, Glenn Beck won’t be going anywhere. He was already a superstar on talk radio and will remain one. He was already doing sold-out, weepy live events about the fall of America and Christmas sweaters and will presumably continue to do those, too. He’ll even be expanding his empire with a new online endeavor called GBTV. (Yes, that looks very much like it should stand for gay/bi/transgender or something similar, but please, nobody tell him. Let’s just laugh about it behind his back for several years.) It sounds it will be mostly Beck doing a variation on his FOX show for a nominal fee; $4.95/month to watch just his show, $9.95 for the full array of GBTV (teehee) programming.

None of this would be remarkable to me if I didn’t know that GBTV (snicker) will be powered by MLB Advanced Media. Yup, the same outfit responsible for creating online clips of Major League Baseball games (but not responsible for allowing you to embed them anywhere) will now help make sure the special angel-monkeys in Glenn Beck’s brain have their message heard. I can’t see how this makes any sense for MLB, business- or publicity-wise, unless they just want to carry one show worse than Intentional Talk.

Granted, MLB is not the smartest outfit in the world (see: idiotic anti-replay stance, the WBC, the aforementioned refusal to make video clips of their sport embeddable). However, I think even Bud Selig and Co. have to recognize that they’re treading on thin ice here. Getting into bed with a guy like Beck–however tangentially–is virtually guaranteed to bring nothing but trouble.

I’m not saying it’s a risk because Beck is a conservative and I am not. I wouldn’t even call Beck a conservative because he’s anything but. A conservative, by definition, wants to conserve, to keep things the way they are. Beck wants to blow up everything up to and including the Magna Carta. This is not so much a right/left split as it is a crazy/not crazy split.

As I already said, he became so toxic that Roger Ailes–who cut his teeth as Richard Nixon’s media guru, and who can stomach Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity–wants nothing to do with him. As gross and disingenuous as FOX News is, the majority of programming is light years more fair and sane than Glenn Beck. Wal-Mart withdrew sponsorship from Beck’s program when he called President Obama a racist. If any business has the economic and political power to withstand public pressure over such issues, it’s Wal-Mart, and yet even they decided they’d rather not be associated with such a person.

But obviously, there is a sizable segment of the population that likes this guy. Why pass judgment on that, if you’re MLB? Fine, let’s look at this in cold, hard terms. From a pure dollars-and-cents standpoint, there is virtually no way that this GBTV (chortle) venture will become lucrative.

Why? Because if the internet has proven anything…well, I guess the number one thing the internet has proven is that people like porn. But the second biggest thing it’s proven is that nobody wants to pay for something they used to get for free. The Internet Graveyard is filled with the tombs of kooky ranters who captivated audiences on YouTube, then decided to try and monetize their nuttiness and fell off the face of the earth.

Not to mention, GBTV will not be the only way people who like Glenn Beck can get Glenn Beck; he still has his radio show, which costs virtually nothing to listen to. And yet you’re asking people to plunk down as much as 10 bucks a month–more than a basic Netflix subscription–to watch him do a show you used to be able to see for a sliver of your monthly cable bill?

Put it this way: If Howard Stern couldn’t get people to buy satellite radios en masse, Glenn Beck will not get people to pay for internet TV in significant numbers. It doesn’t matter if the fee is relatively affordable; people hate subscriptions. They especially hate them for anything online. It doesn’t matter whether it’s for The New York Times or 24 uninterrupted hours of Bababooey or an internet channel dedicated to hoarding your gold.

When Beck has his inevitable on-air meltdown–not if, but when–it’s going to be carried by the same online engine that brings you clips of America’s pastime. Bud Selig will be praying for the carefree days of the Mitchell Report and failed drug tests when that happens.

Bud Selig Knows Drama

I am seriously thinking about expanding the playoffs for next season and adding a wild card play-in game. Because when you have two teams battling for the last postseason berth, that makes for drama, and drama makes for big ratings. That’s why all of TV’s top rated shows are dramas. House. Gray’s Anatomy. The other one. You know, the one with the lawyer? Or lawyers? I dunno, the wife seems to like it.

But I’m not restricting these moves to the postseason. The regular season will have more drama as well. Once a week, we’ll pick a random superstar and mail him a letter taped together from newspaper clippings that says unless he has an absolutely monster game, he’ll never see his family alive again. Think the players will assume we’re bluffing? Would you want to take that chance?

Of course, we expect the same type of threat would lose its effectiveness when used repeatedly. So we’ll have other ones up our sleeve as well. Maybe dangle a player’s first born child over a cliff in an old Buick, just inches away from teetering over the edge. Maybe we’ll set his house ablaze, with the fire department just waiting to put it out as soon as he hits for the cycle. Maybe we’ll hire ninjas. Maybe we already have. Maybe there’s one in Adrian Gonzalez’s apartment right now. Not saying there is, not saying there isn’t.

We plan to roll this program out slowly, in stages, to acclimate players to this new environment. In spring training of 2012, we’ll start by threatening players’ possessions, like their cars and award trophies. Then we’ll work up to more severe things like sending threatening notes to their parents and hacking into their email accounts. By season’s end, each player will think he’s starring in his own personal version of The Game, which is easily the best Michael Douglas movie he ever made.

However, I want reassure everyone that just because we’re going to severely alter the way baseball in played by constantly threatening all that its players hold most dear, that does not mean we have any plans to make any truly drastic adjustments like instituting wider replay. I feel this would irreparably harm one of baseball’s most treasured features, the human factor. We must leave the sport’s most basic decisions up to humans, flawed though they may be. Like, does a player want to see his children eaten by fire ants? If not, maybe he’ll throw a complete game one-hitter.

Discoveries from MLB’s Origins Committee

  • The earliest form of baseball was played in ancient Mesopotamia. Called Dak-tar, the object of the game was for the players to project their own personal failings and fears of death onto their children.
  • At various times, the game has been known as bases-ball, based-ball, basted-ball, butter-ball, churn-ball, hide-the-goblin, flip cup, Sacajawea, and water polo.
  • Early incarnations of baseball required every square inch of the playing field to be covered by a person. By the late 1700s, rosters for each team were whittled down to a lean 85.
  • Alexander Cartwright was considered the father of baseball not because he codified the game’s modern rules, but because he sired enough illegitimate children to field an entire league’s rosters.
  • Abner Doubleday did not invent baseball in Cooperstown, NY, as legend has it. The West Point graduate was given the honorary title of the game’s inventor in recognition of his service when defeating The Great Child Labor Rebellion of 1871.
  • George Will is a total weiner.

Yes, Ronald, There Is an Abner Doubleday

budselig2.jpgMr. Keurajian–

Thank you for your thoughtful letter. As commissioner of Major League Baseball, I take its subject quite seriously. Regarding the identity of the “father” of baseball, Ronald, your little friends are wrong. They have affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. There is an Abner Doubleday.

How dreary would the world be if there were no Abner Doublday! You’d have to ascribe baseball’s existence to the slow evolution from earlier games that originated in Europe. And while that explanation might be more “plausible” and “probable”, who wants to do all the research to prove it?

There would be no childlike faith, no poetry, no romance, no belief in the crackpot theories of early-20th century xenophobic racists determined to prove baseball was a purely American game! No belief in the inherent superiority of human failings over technology that could easily fix such errors! No blaming of the players’ union for everything bad in the sport!

Not believe in Abner Doubleday! You might as well not believe that George Washington cut down a cherry tree! Which technically, he did not, but since I was told so when I was a small child, I really don’t appreciate being instructed otherwise by a bunch of eggheads.

Just because we have never seen Abner Doubleday, or any evidence he had anything to do with baseball, does not mean he does not exist. The most real things in the world are those that no one can see. Like a purple zebra. Just try to not think of a purple zebra now. You can’t. I’ve proven my point.

You could tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that have ever lived, could tear apart. Also, why would you tear apart a baby’s rattle? That’s messed up.

No Abner Doubleday! Thank God he lives, and lives forever in the hearts of everyone too lazy to think about accepted myths too much. A thousand years from now, nay, ten times ten thousand years, he will continue to make glad the heart of dumbasses.

“Classic” Scratchbomb: Skitch Hanson on Instant Replay

Thumbnail image for galaragga_joyce.jpgYes, I took a cheap shot at umpire Jim Joyce, whose blown call turned Amrando Galarraga’s perfect game into a one-hitter. But that’s because I’m a jerk who has no pity or shame. The real ire should be directed not at Joyce, but Bud Selig, which has idiotically resisted replay against all technological advances and common sense.

Jim Joyce is considered one of the better umpires in Major League Baseball. We have no reason to believe Joyce would have sabotaged a perfect game to drive an agenda or for personal gain. There was absolutely no incentive for him to blow the call, unless he is secretly the world’s biggest masochist. After the game, he addressed the press (a pretty rare thing for any umpire to do under any circumstances) and sounded completely heartbroken about what had happened.

In other words, a top professional acting at in good faith and with the best of his abilities can still mess up very badly in a very big spot. And technology has advanced to the point where every single person watching the game immediately knows how badly he blew it. Which is why it makes less than zero sense to not have replay available in baseball.

In the absence of replay, everyone wonders how this injustice can be overturned while somehow retaining the game’s “purity”. Because going into a booth for one minute (which is how long it would have taken to overturn Joyce’s call) ruins the game’s magical mystical sepiatone Field of Dreams Wonderboy bullshit aura. By Bud Selig’s logic, a seatbelt ruins the mystique of driving, even if you’ll fly through the windshield without it.

What is truly “impure”: Having instant replay to correct officiating mistakes, like every other sport does, or asking the commissioner to wave a magic wand and declare that Galarraga pitched a perfect game, as if the blown call never happened?

Here’s how you institute replay:

  1. Issue one challenge per team per game. When used, the challenge is expended regardless of whether the team “wins” the challenge or not.
  2. Umpires have the right to refuse a challenge if it appears to be total BS. Otherwise, you’d have managers wasting them to allow a pitcher to warm up or just to be dicks.
  3. Challenges can only be used for fair/foul and safe/out calls. No strike calling.

You can argue on the particulars, of course. But after last night, can you tell me that replay would be any worse than what we have now? Because what we have now is essentially crossing our fingers and hoping everything works out okay. Why not just ask Santa Claus for no umpiring mistakes next year? It makes about as much sense.

However, in the interest of fairness, I felt I should have an opinion from the other side of the fence. So I point you to this op-ed longtime contributor Skitch Hanson wrote during last year’s playoffs, entitled “Making the Right Call on Wrong Calls”. Enjoy!

Bud Selig on Series Relocation

budselig2.jpgAs you all know, the G20 Summit is happening in Toronto this summer. You guys all knew that, right? Because I sure as hell didn’t. Not when I was making the schedules for this season, anyway. Oh well, live and…live and…how does the rest of that go? Eh, it’s not important.

Anywhoozle, the G20 Summit will attract some of the world’s most dangerous, ski-hatted anarchists, who threaten to stand around in streets chanting things in a vaguely upsetting matter, then disperse. I take this threat very seriously, even if 75 percent of these anti-capitalist groups are comprised of undercover FBI agents snitching on the other 25 percent. During this summit, Toronto may be safe enough to host the finance ministers of the world’s 20 leading economies, but it certainly won’t be safe enough for Alex Rios and Placido Polanco.

That’s why I’m moving the interleague series between the Blue Jays and the Phillies down to Philadelphia. I understand that this may give one team a serious advantage. After all, the Blue Jays won their last World Series against the Phillies, and surely the memories of Joe Carter and Paul Molitor will give Toronto a huge psychic advantage! But I think the Phillies are talented enough to overcome this.

My office did give some consideration to moving this series to a neutral site. But I remember two years ago, we moved an Astros/Cubs series from Houston to Milwaukee, and many fans thought it was unfair to relocate those games to a city so close to Chicago. This time, to remove any ambiguity, I decided to just move the series to the other team’s home field so there would be no question about who was getting hosed.

Some say I could have moved the games to Buffalo or Montreal or some other city like that. But then I’d have to find out the names of the stadiums in those cities. And then I’d have to find out who runs them. And then I’d have to find out their phone number. And then what if they don’t answer the phone? Ugh, who’s got time for that kind of hassle?!

I do understand that other teams in the NL East feel this gives an unfair edge to the Phillies, but I’d like to point out that each of them has an advantage of their own, which I feel cancels out this effect:

  • The Mets will play in Puerto Rico this summer at the end of June, and you know how much Those People like hot, Caribbean temperatures. Fuck, did I say that out loud?
  • The Marlins, in addition to playing in that series in Puerto Rico, have an average attendance of 300 people per game, which really cuts down on the pressure to perform.
  • The Braves have Jason Heyward, who can heal lepers, I’ve heard.
  • And the Nationals will be eliminated in the Great MLB Downsizing I have planned for 2015, so I’m not too worried about making them happy.

There you go, it’s a win-win situation. Actually, it’s a win-win-win situation, since the Phillies will totally sweep that series. Especially if they use that other advantage we’ve been letting them get away with.

Bud Selig Addresses the Arizona Question

Don’t think Major League Baseball is unaware of or insensitive to the situation in Arizona, just because we haven’t acknowledged it in any way so far. I just think it’s unwise to rush into any action or statement or movement until we have all the facts.

Rest assured, my Fact Gatherers are out there right now, gathering those facts. Yup, they are working hard, and as soon as they’re done with their work, that’s when the work of the Fact Interpreters begins. And once those guys are done with their work, we have to call in the Action Recommenders, who recommend actions based on those facts.

And when all of that is taken care of, we have to bring in someone to clean up the facts and file them away so the office looks neat and tidy. Clean office, clean business, I always say. It’s a long, involved process, people.

Stalling? I’m not stalling. What makes you think I’m stalling? I can’t believe you would think something like that. That’s just…did you eat? Can I get you something? How about some coffee?

However, I want to say right up front that we will not consider moving the All Star Game from Phoenix in 2011. Even if the state passed an unjust law–AND I’M NOT SAYING THEY DID, DON’T RUSH ME–it’s not fair to the citizens of Arizona to deny them a chance to see baseball superstars up close, like Alex Rodriguez and Albert Pujols and whoever we decide to send from the Royals. And by “citizens”, of course I mean whichever corporate douchebags weasel their way into getting tickets to the game.

As for all the spring training facilities in Arizona, that is a team matter that each team will have to decide for itself based on what is good for that particular team. I believe in teams’ rights and trust them to come to equitable, sensible decisions on their own. It’s a policy I learned when I did graduate work at the James Buchanan School of Diplomacy.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to hide under this pile of coats while whistling loudly and hope that somehow, all of this goes away.