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I am sickened....
In news that didn't come as too much of a suprise, Enemy #1 and MLB Commissioner Bud Selig's contract was extended through 2009.
This means we get to see his ugly plate for five more years. I am sickened, but not suprised. After all, he's an owner, he looks after himself and his cronies, so why shouldn't they vote him in. The whole process reeks.
Bud, always ready to pile on the unintentional sarcasm had this to say,
"I believe we have made great progress in a number of important fronts in recent years, particularly in the areas of competitive balance, labor, international play and the marketing of the game."Lets see,
Competitive balance: Does he mean the same competitive balance that has produced an $183M Yankee payroll, which is almost SEVEN TIMES as much as his own Milwaukee Brewers? He can't be. So, he must be claiming responsibility for three different World Series winners over the last three years? Well in that case, I would say they won in SPITE of Bud, not BECAUSE of him, but I suppose that's arguable. In that case, Bud also has to claim ownership of only 6 teams winning 11 world series titles under his watch, including four Yankee titles in five years. He can't have it both ways.
Labor: He can't really be serious here. This has to be a joke. Does he really expect people to have forgotten so quickly that there was no World Series in 1994 because he COULDN'T AVOID A STRIKE? Now, its not all Bud's fault, but if a STRIKE, not to mention a NEAR LOCKOUT last year all happen under his watch, he can't realistically claim to have made "great progress" in that area. This is what sickens me the most. Bud either is so removed from reality that he can't see how stupid this sounds, or he really doesn't care and thinks it's funny to use blatant sarcasm in his public statements.
International Play: What exactly is he talking about here? Is he saying the Expos playing in Puerto Rico, and the Yankees/Devil Rays series in Japan constitutes anything but a disaster? Is he talking about the Baseball "World Cup" that he has been talking about, but not acting on, for the last several years? He can't be laying claim to the increase in Asian and Latino ballplayers in the majors, which has absolutely nothing to do with Bud. It doesn't suprise me in the least coming from Bud's flapper, but this is incredibly specious logic. Just because something happens while you were in office, doesn't make it a direct result of your actions.
The marketing of the game: Okay, how broad a statement can he possibly throw out here? What has he done to help market the game. He has been much too busy weaseling money for new ballparks to even notice that its been the PLAYERS who have done the most to market this game. Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Cal Ripken, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Ichiro Suzuki, and Hideki Matsui have all done much much more than Bud to market this game, and that hasn't even been part of their job description.
So that leads to his claim on all of the new ballparks that have been built since 1992. There have been a lot, but again, at what cost? See the "required reading" link on the left for a small taste. Bud's claim on the dramatically increased value of franchises is all smoke and mirrors when you remember that much of that increase came at the expense of taxpayers. If you get the taxpayers to pay for a shiny new ballpark OF COURSE the value of a franchise is going to increase "dramatically". So if the goal of the commissioner is to put more money in the hands of already wealthy owners, Bud has done an excellent job. Unfortunately for baseball, that is exactly his goal.
Unfortunately for the game, for the players, and for the fans, the owners have forgotten what has been most important to their success. They claim that "Baseball is a Business", and it is (although the exemption from US anti-trust laws leaves this statement interpretable at the least, and possibly false). But the owners constantly lose sight of aim of their business, which is to provide entertainment to a large and somewhat loyal fanbase.
Baseball is a business....Owners use that trademarked statement when it comes to paying players what they're worth, but ignore that statement when realizing that a business must invest money to increase its value. Baseball owners instead extort public money at the threat of moving franchises, and despite increased revenue sharing and a luxury tax to help smaller market teams, continue to cut payroll and complain about player salaries. MLB claims that,
Meaningful and significant revenue sharing among the clubs and a competitive balance tax, provided for in the new Basic Agreement, have resulted in the stabilization of players salaries and greater competitive balance on the field of play.Meaningful and significant? Well, maybe significant. But all revenue sharing and luxury taxes have caused is the smaller payroll teams slashing salaries, while the Yankees, Red Sox, Angels, and any other team willing to invest in their product have continued to spend. If it helped competitive balance then why has the payroll gap done nothing but widen?
The "stabilization of player salaries" borders on collusion, which may be a strong claim, but not unprecedented considering the owners already lost a collusion suit brought on by the players union. When franchise values are "dramatically increasing" (MLB's words), and player salaries have "stabilized" (MLB's words), we ought to be quick enough to connect the dots. Instead of the money from increased revenues going to the players, who have EARNED it, its landing in the pockets of owners. Since we, the fans, have obviously not seen cheaper tickets or beer prices (outside of Anaheim), how is that good for anybody besides the owners? It's not, but OUR problem is that Bud Selig has done a great job for them, and they vote for him. End of discussion.
How sick does it make me feel? I can get this worked up about seeing him in office for five more years, and I didn't even have room to mention the entire expansion/contraction fiasco and its subsequent porking the city of Montreal to further fill the pockets of the owners. Well, at least I can take comfort in the fact that Bud is 70 years old, this insanity can't last much longer.
Hell, I might have to re-think my opinion on this, even Rob Dibble agrees with me.
Used car salesmen worldwide can email Curt to tell him Bud gives them all a bad name.