Bound To Happen: Selig Headed for Cooperstown
In a great victory for mediocrity and logrolling, Allan H. “Bud” Selig was chosen for enshrinement in baseball’s Hall of Fame Sunday.
After owning the Milwaukee Brewers for 22 years, the former used car salesman fell into the job of commissioner of baseball when the other owners tossed aside Faye Vincent, the last of major league baseball’s independent commissioners.
“Wow, you mean the fans actually once had a voice in the commissioner’s office?” asked a fan too young to remember the days before the owners presided over the game as both judge and jury. “That’s amazing. Can we go back to that?”
Sorry, kid. Those days are long gone. The closest you have to a voice now are your 25 all-star votes.
The former commissioner presided over the darkest ages of baseball since the early 20th century. Installed in 1992 as a puppet of the other team owners, Selig’s job was to wrest back the concessions the owner had made in previous bargaining agreements.
After fueling fan resentment during the labor difficulties of the early 1990s, Selig wallowed in the muck of the steroid era, eating up home run races between Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire. Selig couldn’t get enough of the ridiculous long balls and showed up nearly everywhere they were being hit, mugging and grinning alongside McGwire, Sosa, Palmeiro, Caminiti and so, so many more players clearly enhanced by some kind of anabolic substance. Bud didn’t care, as long the homers flew and flew a long way.
Then suddenly, some members of the media turned on the home run hitters. Started calling them cheaters, even though MLB actually had no rule against using performance enhancing drugs. Selig leapt upon the pile of hatred, condemned the home run hitters. He called them cheaters too, said they’d let the fans down. Selig had it both ways.
I can’t count the number of depressing moves Selig made in the years he was umpiring.
But today, the players who hit all those homers that made Bud and his owners even richer are denied entry into Cooperstown. But not Bud. He’s allowed in. Maybe he can send a photo or two to Barry and his family, just to let them know what Cooperstown looks like.