Friday, February 06, 2015
New commissioner Rob Manfred says it’s time for Major League Baseball to give “fresh consideration” to an issue it has shunned for decades—legalized sports betting.
“Gambling in terms of our society has changed its presence on legalization,” Manfred said Thursday on ESPN’s “Outside the Lines,” “and I think it’s important for there to be a conversation between me and the owners about what our institutional position will be.”
For decades, baseball’s position on sports betting has been one of utter disdain. Manfred’s comments were tempered—especially compared to NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s call for federal legalization—but represent a dramatic shift from MLB’s longstanding staunch opposition.
Posted: February 06, 2015 at 11:00 AM | 45 comment(s)
Thursday, January 29, 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015
Sunday, January 25, 2015
While I agree that banning shifts and the implementation of a clock (instead of simply enforcing rules on batter and pitchers) aren’t needed, this is a little over the top.
(Edited after posting my comment too quickly. Jim)
Posted: January 25, 2015 at 05:46 PM | 475 comment(s)
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
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.
Thursday, November 20, 2014
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
“The problem is that most of the guys who were commissioner, I think, really don’t want to say anything because they’re inhibited,” he says. “Because I’m older and I don’t really give a damn, I am willing to take a point of view on it and tell you what I think. I’m not running for office, and I don’t particularly care what people say about me in the papers anymore.”
Posted: October 14, 2014 at 11:06 AM | 12 comment(s)
Monday, October 06, 2014
I usually like Will Leitch’s stuff. I don’t like this piece. Commissioners aren’t all-knowing, omnipotent deities.They are men managing complicated, high-profile *businesses*. In Selig’s case, despite some errors along the away, he’s done a tremendous job juggling the business and PR sides of his job. He’s been able to do so because he holds real power. To strip his replacement of such power would not be an improvement.
So maybe it’s time to think about changing the job description? Joe Sheehan, one of the founders of Baseball Prospectus and now the author of the Joe Sheehan Baseball Newsletter, posited recently that baseball should install a second leadership figure in a position he calls chief baseball officer. This person would be the public representative of the game, what we imagine a commissioner to be, alongside the actual commissioner, who would remain the money-printing officer he’s become in all major sports.
In baseball, this second person would deal with pace of game, with PEDs, with expansion, with discipline, with instant replay. In the NFL, it’d be rule changes, pass-interference calls, player safety. In the NBA, defensive rules, three-point-line distance, shot-clock changes, and so on. Ideally it would be someone younger, with a connection to the game but maybe not of the game — think Theo Epstein rather than Tony LaRussa, Cris Collinsworth rather than Tony Dungy, Stan Van Gundy rather than Pat Riley (so yes, Costas, you can apply). This person would be in charge of game play — the gentle tending of the game and its place in American life — solely. He would have nothing to do with the financials whatsoever. Think of it like the church-state separation that exists between the editorial and advertising departments of a newspaper. (Well, the church-state separation that used to exist, anyway.)
Posted: October 06, 2014 at 08:20 AM | 28 comment(s)
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