Bud Selig Newsbeat
Friday, January 23, 2015
I let the machine pick up, and was more than a little bemused to hear this: Rob, this is Commissioner Selig. I read your column on ESPN and wanted to talk to you about it. When you get a chance, please call me at …”
Selig clearly had a print-out of my ESPN.com column at hand, probably with the offending passages highlighted by a flunky. And he spent the next half-hour or so simply going through the passages, and telling me exactly how I’d gotten each one so horribly wrong. A few times, I tried to interject with my questions. He wasn’t having any of it, not even a little. I think it’s probably safe to say that Selig didn’t respond, or really react at all, to a single thing I said. He was the High Commissioner of Baseball, Lord of Lords, and I was nothing.
When finally he’d finished haranguing me, I believe he did sign off civilly. But it’s certainly the most frustrating conversation in my professional life, to this day. And I probably was less well-disposed toward Selig than I’d been before.
I probably became even less well-disposed a few weeks later, when the word came down from above: Lay off Commissioner Bud. Oh, I wasn’t told I couldn’t criticize him. Just that I couldn’t do it with such obvious relish.
Still, seemed petty at the time (and still does). I wasn’t the only one, either. I know other writers who’d gotten calls from Selig, and I know other writers who’d been told by their bosses to take it easy on the poor old Commissioner.
Thursday, January 22, 2015
Thursday, January 15, 2015
“The scouts are among the most underappreciated part of the game of baseball, so what Dennis has done with his foundation and dinner is just so right. That’s why I come,” Selig said. “What Dennis has done for them is remarkable.”
Posted: January 15, 2015 at 09:07 PM | 1 comment(s)
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
I hope nobody gets arrested at the party.
This week’s quarterly meetings for the 30 MLB owners will double as a retirement party for Bud Selig, whose 23-year tenure as commissioner officially ends Jan. 25.
Monday, December 22, 2014
So it was announced that Miller Park would now contain something called “The Selig Experience,” and this is not something I am making up, either. Neither am I making this part up:
The exhibition space totals approximately 1,400 square feet, and will include authentic artifacts from Selig’s tenure as the Brewers owner. A multimedia show will include a 3-dimensional encounter with Selig inside a reproduction of his old Milwaukee County Stadium office.
The number of people who had a truly three-dimensional encounter with the actual Bud Selig can be counted on the extremities without removing both shoes. Now he is going to haunt his personal ballpark as a hologram for eternity? Some Brewers fan as yet unborn is going to amble into the wrong part of the stadium’s loge and be confronted with an ambulatory, spectral Bud Selig, wandering the Miller Park parapets like Hamlet’s father? Great Caesar’s ghost!
(Wait. Forget I said that.)
And what is the interactive attraction in walking into a facsimile of anybody’s office, especially Bud Selig’s? What do you get to do? Arrange for the World Series not to be held? Mastermind an All-Star Game that ends in a tie? Ignore the glistening tower of syringes, reaching almost all the way up to the ceiling over there in the corner? Duck baseballs thrown at you by the hologrammic Gary Sheffield? Trade Greg Vaughn for Bryce Florie, over and over again? That sounds like something Dante would have dreamed up. Alighieri, that is. Not Bichette, whose hologram likely will stalk the joint, too, looking for the head of Kevin Reimer.
Posted: December 22, 2014 at 01:37 PM | 11 comment(s)
Thursday, December 11, 2014
Sylvia Lind’s lawsuit, filed in Manhattan federal court, seeks unspecified damages for what she describes as a failure by the league to consider, interview, appoint and promote qualified Hispanic women to managerial and executive positions. Lind, 48, says the league has created a hostile work environment for her because of her age. Lind, the league’s director of baseball initiatives in its Office of the Commissioner, names as defendants the league, commissioner Bud Selig and Hall of Famer Frank Robinson, who supervised her. Messages to the league were not immediately returned Thursday.
The lawsuit says Lind works in an industry dominated by white men and has been passed over for promotions and underpaid since 1995. Lind said Hispanics are underrepresented in the management level while baseball has a high percentage of Hispanic players. She said of 52 people who are vice presidents or above only two are Hispanic and only 12 are women.
According to the lawsuit, Lind, who is of Cuban descent and lives in New Jersey, earned her law degree from Fordham University School of Law in 1995. It says she began working for Major League Baseball on Nov. 21, 1995, as supervisor in the legal department of MLB Properties Inc. at an annual salary of $43,000. She said she was the only Hispanic female lawyer in the legal department at the time and no Hispanic attorneys have been hired since.
Lind said her troubles with the league worsened after Robinson, who played for several teams between 1956 and 1976, became executive vice president of baseball development in June 2012 and criticized her writing and other skills. She said Robinson, who won rookie of the year and MVP honors with the Cincinnati Reds and MVP with the Baltimore Orioles, lacked the educational credentials, professional license and executive experience to qualify for the job, which paid him more than $1 million annually.
A farewell present for Bud Selig.
Monday, September 22, 2014
Next they’ll need a committee to examine the pace of committees designed to study the pace of the game.
Baseball games are too slow and take too long. They’re still enjoyable and we’re all going to watch them, but they could be sped up and improved. The fact that even Major League Baseball commissioner (for now) Bud Selig has recognized this is the greatest proof that we know. Selig, in what will likely be one of his last major acts as commissioner, has set up a committee to figure out ways to speed up MLB games as soon as 2015.
Some of the regular long-term players you expect are included in the committee, such as the Mets’ Sandy Alderson, Braves’ president John Schuerholz and MLB’s chief operating officer and the next commissioner, Rob Manfred. Tony Clark is there to represent the Player’s Union as well, while Tom Werner—who failed in his bid to leave the Red Sox to become commissioner—is also around, along with Joe Torre. It’s kind of a who’s who of those will still be in power after Selig officially abdicates the throne, which makes sense given they’re the ones who need to deal with the consequences of their actions.
Posted: September 22, 2014 at 04:47 PM | 157 comment(s)
blue ribbon committees
length of games
pace of the game
Friday, September 05, 2014
Interviewed at the 2014 MLB All-Star Game, retiring commissioner Bud Selig was asked what part of his legacy he’s most proud of. Selig cited a new age of “competitive balance,” commonly referred to as parity—meaning that teams who spent large portions of the previous two decades as also-rans now have a chance to not only make the postseason, but make deep runs into October.
It’s a nice thought. There are 30 MLB teams, and for the most part recently, playoff success has been limited to only a tiny subset of that 30. A break from this group of traditional elites would be refreshing.
It’s also wrong.
Thursday, August 28, 2014
Maybe he has a literal fetish for new architecture? Anyone ever think of that?
By the time Padres president and CEO Mike Dee caught wind of Bud Selig’s farewell tour of Major League ballparks, the wheels were already turning as to how the team was going to pay tribute to the outgoing Commissioner… the Padres honored Selig with a dedication ceremony of the Selig Hall of Fame Plaza at Petco Park, which sits behind the Western Metal Supply Building, next to 13 palm trees, waving gently in the breeze during the 20-minute ceremony before Tuesday’s game against the Brewers, which the Padres won, 4-1.
Dee said the area will serve as a home to the Padres Hall of Fame and eventually statues in the plaza to honor Padres greats as well as a plaque to honor Selig, not just for his overall achievements to baseball during his 22-year tenure as Commissioner but the specific accomplishment of helping to keep baseball afloat in San Diego.
The Selig Hall of Fame Plaza will be open year-round to fans… San Diego County supervisor Ron Roberts declared Tuesday as “Bud Selig Day” in San Diego County and its 18 cities…
Several speakers praised Selig for his role in helping to keep baseball prospering in San Diego, first during its difficult financial period of 1993, the infamous “fire sale” that saw the trades of Gary Sheffield and Fred McGriff and then, later, when the team was trying to get its downtown ballpark built…
“... I look at this ballpark and remember Jack Murphy Stadium. So we’ve come a long way…” [Selig said]
The District Attorney
Posted: August 28, 2014 at 02:25 PM | 10 comment(s)
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
You probably know that one of Bud Selig’s big objectives as commissioner of baseball was to even the playing field – that is, to give the small-market teams a chance to contend… Funny thing: Here at the end of his tenure, baseball is closer to Selig’s nirvana than perhaps ever before. As Brian McPherson writes in the Providence Journal, the correlation between money spent and winning is at its lowest point in a long, long time. McPherson writes that the correlation right now between wins and money is actually smaller than the correlation between wins and alphabetical order.
Why is this a funny thing?
Because, I believe the reason for whatever actual effect we are seeing is pretty directly tied to the steroid years that Selig has been running away from for more than a decade… I have a theory – one that directly relates to my belief that many baseball teams are doing something that is monumentally stupid. I’m referring to the huge, long-term deals that they are giving players – deals that last until the players are in their mid-to-late 30s, and sometimes even carries them into their 40s. These contracts are a death trap, a suicide rap, and while there are exceptions to every rule, there are never more than a few exceptions… in the late 1990s and early 2000s… we suddenly started seeing 35-year olds performing at very high levels… My guess is that this seemingly reasonable conclusion that baseball players had started to beat the aging process was, in fact, quite unreasonable and it is probably the biggest factor in these massive, sprawling and utterly doomed long-term contracts… Baseball owners’ and GM’s madness for big money contracts to aging players has, in its own way, evened the game more than anything else Selig or any other commissioner has done.
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Manfred, man: Why should we not?
Whether it was Peter Ueberroth in 1984, Bart Giamatti in 1988, Fay Vincent in 1989 or Selig in 1992, all the [recent] previous baseball czars ascended to the top job by unanimous vote of the owners.
You would have thought that would be the case this time as well, with Rob Manfred, Selig’s No. 2 man, waiting in the wings after having been the point man for the most impactful commissioner ever…
And apparently, for the vast majority of owners, it is.
But a few, most notably Selig’s longtime closest friend in baseball, Chicago White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, don’t think Manfred is the right man for the job. They haven’t said why. They only say they want someone else, in this case Tom Werner, a part-owner of the Red Sox, or possibly Tim Brosnan, MLB’s vice president of business… And so there will be debate. The search committee, headed by St. Louis Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt, has presented the owners with the three candidates — Manfred, Werner and Brosnan — and on Wednesday, the candidates will make their cases before the owners. Then on Thursday morning, the owners will split into three groups of 10 each for question-and-answer sessions, followed by the vote…
An informal survey of owners has Manfred with 21 likely votes — the Yankees, Mets, Orioles, Indians, Royals, Tigers, Twins, Rangers, Mariners, Marlins, Phillies, Cubs, Pirates, Cardinals, Dodgers, Giants, Padres, Rockies, Astros, Braves and Rays. Werner has seven — the White Sox, Red Sox, Brewers, Angels, Blue Jays, A’s and Diamondbacks. And Brosnan has one — the Reds — because of his close friendship with Cincinnati owner Bob Castellini. The Nationals owners, who owe their stake to Selig, are also believed to be leaning toward Manfred.
Reinsdorf has to know Werner could never be elected. (“We would really hold ourselves up for ridicule and embarrassment,” said one team exec in regard to Werner.)
But if Reinsdorf is able to hold seven teams in place and force a stalemate, that would serve his purpose just as well… If no one is able to secure the necessary 23 votes for election, the process could get put off until the next owners’ meeting in November, giving Reinsdorf’s group additional time to come up with an alternative candidate…
the stakes are just as high here for the outgoing commissioner.
As another club exec said: “If we don’t come out of there Thursday with a new commissioner, it will be absolutely devastating for Bud.”
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
I don’t want to live in a world where Loria’s glorious home run machine in Miami doesn’t exist.
World Series champions always experience an attendance craze in the following season, sometimes several seasons. With the revenue increase down the stretch in 1994 with postseason games and everything, isn’t it possible the Expos kept the core together?
If so, the Expos don’t alienate their fan base and finish last in 1995. That’s a whole different ballgame now.
It was obvious the Expos needed a new stadium with a better location, and it’s also possible that a World Series championship (or more, should they have kept the band together) would have provided the momentum necessary to get Labatt Park built.
And if that happened, Montreal may have been able to keep supporting the Expos to this day.
The implications seem infinite.
As far as the Expos not becoming the Nationals, Washington, DC, would still be without a team, but maybe the threat of moving to DC would be real enough to have created better leverage in stadium situations for the Rays and/or A’s.
Saturday, August 09, 2014
“I want to send the message that I’m not sending any messages!”
In light of reports that there was a bit of a tiff between commissioner Bud Selig and his longtime compadre, White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, regarding the succession committee naming a new commissioner, Selig issued the following statement Friday:
Since discussions began in January about formulating an orderly process for selecting the next Commissioner, I have stated both privately and publicly that my desire was to conduct a thorough, thoughtful and discreet search that includes the input of all 30 Major League Clubs. The seven-member Succession Committee, which was named on May 15th and has been chaired with distinction by Bill DeWitt, has accomplished this goal while working independently to get to the point we are today. While Bill has kept me well-informed, the results of this process are a reflection of the Committee’s work alone, and I have not promoted individual candidates.
As we approach next week’s vote, I will continue to encourage Clubs to voice their opinions within the confines of this process. Reports of personal animosity between Jerry Reinsdorf and me—or any other alleged disputes between owners regarding the process or the candidates—are unfounded and unproductive. I respect the ownership of our 30 franchises and have complete faith that the process will produce an individual that all in Baseball will be eager to support.
Friday, August 08, 2014
It’s not just conjecture by MASN that the RSDC ignored the Bortz methodology. The Managing Director of Bortz stated in an affidavit that the RSDC “improperly ignored facts and intentionally ignored other applicable reports that applied the established methodology” - all in order to find in favor of the Nationals, which, as far as MASN/the Orioles are concerned, it had planned to do for years, going back to when MLB was selling the Nationals franchise.
One way that the RSDC juked numbers to rule in the Nationals’ favor, MASN lays out in its petition, is that the RSDC considered as a baseline numbers from the 2007 season, which, as the first year of MASN’s existence, are not representative of how it has performed in any year since and particularly not in the present.
By shifting money from MASN profits to the rights fees, the Orioles suffer in two ways. One, they lose the 85% of money that they would have collected from what would be shifted to the Nationals rights fees. Two, they would lose 34% of money shifted to their own rights fees as part of the revenue sharing tax. If the result of the arbitration is that both the Orioles and Nationals make $60 million more in rights fees, that’s potentially $71 million annually that now goes to the Orioles that would be lost if this arbitration award is forced upon them.
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