2011 World Series Game 7 - Texas Rangers v St Louis Cardinals

Worst commissioner ever

Craig Calcaterra wasn’t the only scribe to christen Bud Selig as the best commissioner ever, but his tribute stands out for its laughable qualifiers.

Now to be clear, Part II: many of those innovations and accomplishments were only made possible by Selig’s own past failures. We would not think much of labor peace — nor would it be as attainable — if Selig had not spearheaded the group of owners who (a) overthrew former commissioner Fay Vincent; (b) installed Selig in his place; and (c) declared war against the union and fomented the player’s strike which cost us the 1994 World Series.

Likewise, PEDs would not have gotten to the crisis point they became if Selig and his comrades had not ignored it as it took hold and created an atmosphere of rancor and distrust with the players which prevented either side from addressing PEDs before, say, dealing with all of the messed up financial issues.

And those are just the failures he mentions. There’s so many more, like the contraction scheme intended to bail out Twins owner Carl Pohlad, who at the time was the game’s richest owner. Bud also nearly destroyed one of baseball’s signature franchises by allowing a heavily leveraged parking lot magnate from Boston purchase the Dodgers.

McCourt was valuable to baseball because of the parcels of land (parking lots) he owned in Boston that could be used as a potential new home for the Red Sox. …

There were other candidates with far better pedigrees: Los Angeles developer and philanthropist Eli Broad offered to buy the team, mostly with cash. Former baseball commissioner Peter Ueberroth formed a group to look into purchasing the team, as did Los Angeles real estate mogul Alan Casden. All had more money, visibility and ties to L.A. than the McCourts did.

This failure was corrected, not by Bud, but by the McCourt’s divorce. Under his watch the owners of the Rangers and Cubs also declared bankruptcy.

The Used Car Salesman hasn’t done the Braves any favors, either, allowing them to be treated as a tax write-off by an out-of-town media conglomerate that could care less about the team’s performance. A strong commissioner wouldn’t have let the previous corporate owners negotiate a long-term TV contract, well below market price, that served only to line Time Warner’s pockets.

This was the same commissioner who wouldn’t let the Mets don unofficial 9/11 caps, instead forcing them to wear commemorative caps being sold for $30 on mlb.com. And how ’bout those Spider-Man logos on the bases?

The game’s gone from a national to regional pastime during Selig’s tenure, and blacks have virtually disappeared from rosters and the stands. Bud fretted about this publicly, but what did he actually do about it?

Not much, says Luther Campbell (the 2 Live Crew guy is actually a sharp dude), who noted that while the NFL invests money into developing African American little league and high school athletes in his native Miami, “the baseball field is sorely neglected. The city doesn’t even water the grass there. Selig and the Miami Marlins have not lived up to their commitment of developing youth baseball programs in parks like Charles Hadley.”

He continues, “If Selig really cared about the lack of African American representation in the big leagues, he would mandate every team support little league clubs and high school teams in places like Overtown, Brownsville, Liberty City, and Miami Gardens.”

And  there’s more. Remember The Baseball Network, which regionalized the playoffs, preventing fans in NL cities from watching the ALCS, and vice-versa? How ’bout the way he’s let the A’s twist in the wind?

Then there’s his role in collusion, which, as Joe Sheehan notes, “may have cost his team a division title while spearheading an approach that would end up costing MLB owners $280 million across three separate judgments and queering relations with the MLBPA for the next two decades.”

Finally, let’s not gloss over the ’94 strike, which Sheehan recalls correctly as “(t)he single most destructive act towards baseball in my lifetime.”

The revisionists and contrarians have had their say, but the record is clear. Bud Selig was the worst thing to happen to baseball in any lifetime.

On top of everything else, he’s even partly to blame for George W. Bush’s presidency. W. wanted to be baseball commissioner, and Bud said he would support him until stabbing him in the back, just as he did Fay Vincent.

Heckuva job, Buddy!


The case against the Used Car Salesman

More proof Bud Selig is the Worst Commissioner in the History of Sports:

Almost eight years ago, Bud Selig vowed to do something about the local-television-blackout rules keeping tens of millions of fans from watching his sport. He said he did not understand the reason pockets of America who wanted to see ballgames on TV couldn’t. Then he made a vow: “We have to do something about it.”

Here’s what he and Major League Baseball have done: Fight like crazy to keep the blackouts in place, arguing the affected fans constitute a “very, very limited area” and that a world in which everyone in America can watch whatever baseball game they please is “completely implausible.”

In truth, the issue revolves around the exorbitant local-television dollars that regional sports networks have lavished on teams in the past five years and the concern that in a true free market with a-la-carte pricing for games, the local TV networks would not pay anywhere close to the tens of billions of dollars they have promised teams around the sport. The threat to the cash cow that has pushed league-wide revenue toward the $9 billion-a-year mark has left the league willing to punish fans in Iowa, Las Vegas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Buffalo and other locations with multiple-team blackouts.

Who is Bud Selig’s biggest fluffer?

It seems most sportswriters have never heard of the McCourts, Jeffrey Loria, the Baseball Network, the ’94 strike, C.B. Bucknor, officially sanctioned 9/11 caps, Spiderman on the bases, contracting the Twins, PED’s …

Exhibit 1:  Richard Justice of MLB.com

Bud Selig’s legacy is about as uncomplicated as it gets. He’s the best Commissioner baseball has ever had. Is that uncomplicated enough?

All the good things that have happened to baseball the past 21 years have been a byproduct of Selig’s leadership, persistence and vision. To plenty of owners, players, etc., it’s difficult to comprehend the sport without him.

That’s what A’s owner Lew Wolff had in mind a couple of years ago when he sent Selig the following e-mail: “You will not retire until I expire.”

The overflowing sewage in Oakland’s stadium may make that a reality.

Submit your nominations in the comments section.

The Worst Commissioner in the History of Sports adds to his resume

C.B. Bucknor’s amateurish grandstanding is but another sorry legacy of the Used Car Salesman‘s stewardship. There is still zero accountability for umpires, whose performance has gone appreciably worse over the last 20 years.

Then there’s the money grubbing. Bud prevented the Nats from wearing Navy caps to honor the victims of the shootings at the neighboring yards, just as he did when the Mets wanted to wear caps commemorating the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

More people watched the Fish in person Wednesday than on TV

“Golden age”

Just a reminder: Jeffrey Loria wouldn’t be owning the Marlins if not for the Worst Commissioner in the History of Sports.

In other words, as the Herald reported, 0.8 percent of all TV households in Miami-Dade County and Broward County were watching the Marlins get shutout by the Atlanta Braves. Nielsen, which handles television ratings, lists a total of 1,621,130 TV households in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale market.

That means, based on Nielsen’s total available households in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale market, roughly 12,969 homes were watching the Marlins game on Wednesday night. For comparison, the Marlins announced attendance at Wednesday night’s game was 13,810.

No team in baseball recorded a rating below 1.0 all last season. It took the Marlins less than two weeks.

Braves TV deal worse than we thought

The LA Times reports the Dodgers will receive $240 to $280 million per year for local broadcasting rights.

According to DOB, the Braves take in roughly $20-to-$25 million annually from their local TV rights — a deal Jeff Passan calls “the sport’s worst television contract,” negotiated as “a term of its sale” from Time Warner to Liberty Media.

A sale that was approved by Hapless Bud. Remember where to direct the blame when Jay Hey, Freddie and Med Dog are playing elsewhere a few years from now.

The deal doesn’t expire for another 20 years. God knows what shape the Braves will be in then.


The Used Car Salesman shirks culpability in selling Miami $645 million lemon

Jeffrey Loria is a worthy villain, no doubt, but the 145 remaining Marlins fans should direct their venom towards Bud Selig. Unfortunately, the media continues  to give the commissioner a pass; instead, they laud Selig’s stewardship. George F. Will doing his best Dick Morris, actually wrote this three years ago;

(S)erious baseball fans argue about everything–the best hitter, the best World Series, the best left-handed catcher from northeast South Dakota. But they do not argue about who has been the best commissioner. That title goes to the ninth commissioner–Selig.

Bud reinforces the dumb blond stereotype

Guess he forgot about the canceled World Series, the Steroids Era, the attempted contraction of the Twins at the behest of billionaire Bud-dy Carl Pohlad, Frank McCourt, The Baseball Network (which regionalized playoff coverage), the All-Star tie …

And there’s this: In ’92, when Bud became commissioner — thus setting the stage for George W. Bush’s political career — more than 30 million people watched the World Series. This year, only 12.7 million tuned in to the Fall Classic. Yet Bud boasts of a Golden Age. A supplicant media barely questions the commish’s clueless bravado. Baseball is swimming in cash, they opine, giving Bud the credit even though the sport’s largesse is due largely to the value advertisers now place on live events. Even Atlanta Spirit couldn’t fuck that up.

Fortunately, there a few scribes who refuse to swallow Bud’s tripe — notably Yahoo! Sports columnist Jeff Passan. His latest column, on Selig’s culpability in the Marlins fiasco, is a must-read.

Passan’s well-researched piece includes these telling excerpts from a 2002 lawsuit filed by the former owners of the Expos.

Selig, the complaint stated, “had secretly determined that major league baseball in Montreal should be eliminated” and went along with Loria’s plan to stop televising games and broadcasting them on radio in English. [Team president and Loria stooge David) Samson ended complimentary tickets for sponsors. And through a variety of cash calls, on which the minority owners refused to act because they disagreed with the franchise’s direction, Loria nearly quadrupled his stake in the franchise, allowing him to pull off the deal that eventually netted him the Marlins.

MLB bought the Expos for $120 million and gave Loria a $38.5 million interest-free loan. Loria, in turn, purchased the Marlins for $158.5 million. And the Marlins’ owner, John Henry, led a consortium to obtain the Boston Red Sox. It was good-ol’-boys glad-handing at its finest, and the consequences for the Expos were dire.

While Loria inherited a Marlins team that would win the 2003 World Series, MLB was sabotaging the Expos worse than the lawsuit imagined. The league sent the Expos to San Juan, Puerto Rico, for 22 “home” games. Nonetheless, they were tied for the wild-card lead on Aug. 28. MLB then refused to allow the Expos any September call-ups, leaving them wildly short-handed compared to their opponents and exacerbating their fade.

In November 2004, an arbitration panel ruled in favor of Loria, Samson and Selig, saying the plaintiffs’ “sense of betrayal, even if justified, doesn’t amount to fraud.” That, of course, did nothing to allay their greatest fear coming true six weeks earlier.

On the final day of the 2004 season, Selig announced the Expos would move to Washington, D.C.

Passan concludes:

How, after 13 years of desecrating two franchises, Loria and Samson continue to exist as owners rests squarely on Selig. He is supposed to be the gatekeeper, the protector, the guardian. And instead, he chooses to be the co-conspirator in the biggest fraud baseball knows.

Serious baseball fans argue about everything, but they do not argue about who has been the worst commissioner. That title goes to the ninth commissioner — the aptly monikered Used Car Salesman.

This Bud’s for you, Jeff Schultz

The AJC’s Jeff Schultz filets the ©Worst Commissioner in the History of Sports:

There’s no need to spend time debating whether Bud Selig is making a good decision any more. It’s more about ranking his degree of nonsensicalness.

Is it worse than leading torch-carrying villagers against former commissioner Fay Vincent (and then taking his job, of course), but probably not as bad as inexplicably preventing the New York Mets from wearing FDNY and NYPD hats on the 10th anniversary of 9/11?

Is it worse than doing nothing about performance-enhancing drug use in baseball until getting humiliated before Congress, but maybe not as lame as deciding that home-field advantage in the most important game of the season (World Series, Game 7) would be determined by the winner of a meaningless exhibition (the All-Star game)? …

Selig recently signed another two-year extension as commissioner. He makes $22 million a year and has a private jet at his disposal. Much of his income comes indirectly from TV executives, who will love the drama of a sudden-death format. In the end, it’s about money, not about what makes sense.

Thanks again, Bud

From Tim Tucker’s review of Liberty’s financials:

In a conference call that Liberty executives held with investment analysts Thursday, the Braves were mentioned once. That was in the context of a discussion about taxes.

Is there a team in baseball that has benefited from corporate ownership? The Cubs (Tribune), the Angels (Disney) and the Dodgers (Fox) were all mismanaged by their corporate overlords.

The Braves are nothing but an asset with tax benefits to Liberty. I don’t blame the company as much as I do the sorriest excuse for a commissioner in the history of professional sports.

The DH is coming to the NL

From the Dept. of Unfortunate Predictions:

With next year’s realignment there will be an interleague game every day of the season. Couple that with the advantage AL teams have when doling out big contracts (Pujols, Fielder, et al) and you have two more reasons why the DH should be abolished.

But the players union will never let it happen. And, considering Bud always seems to do the wrong thing, you can expect, “in the best interests of baseball,” to see the DH adopted by the Senior Circuit within the next five to 10 years.

The Used Car Salesman is, surprise, a liar

After repeatedly insisting this year would be his last, the Used Car Salesman today signed a two-year extension to stay on through 2014. He’ll be making Pujols-like money — $22 million annually along with the use of a private jet.

It galls me to read otherwise intelligent baseball minds laud the commissioner. To them I ask: Is baseball better off today than it was 20 years ago, when Bud’s reign of terror began?

(reposted from ATLmalcontent, 9/12/11)

The man who’s run the sport I love into the ground must be doing so deliberately. Bud Selig isn’t baseball’s caretaker, he’s its undertaker, responsible for P.R. blunders so staggeringly ignorant they must be intentional.

The latest: disallowing Mets players from donning the caps of the NYPD, FDNY, PAPD and other first responders, as the team did 10 years ago when it returned to the field after 9/11. Then, as now, MLB said no.

Mets players, then as now, said fuck you, Bud, but this time the Used Car Salesman was prepared to squash any mutiny. According to Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey, Bud’s henchmen literally took the hats from the dugout.

What could have provoked such soulless overreaction? The bottom line, of course. The “official” American flag hats the Mets were mandated to wear, along with every other MLB team, are now available for $36.99 on the league’s official website.

To be fair, Bud needs to hoard every last cent, as he’s largely responsible for turning America’s pastime into little more than a boutique sport. Television ratings have nosedived since he took over in 1992; now the World Series barely outdraws an NFL exhibition. Attendance is also down through much of the sport, despite baseball’s dishonest calculations.

Under Bud’s watch, the owners of the Cubs, Rangers and Dodgers have declared bankruptcy. The Dodgers, once the gold standard of all professional sports franchises, have been gutted by the team’s heavily leveraged owners, who were endorsed and approved by the Used Car Salesman.

Don’t forget the cancellation of the 1994 World Series. And the steroid scandal.

He’s even partly responsible for George W. Bush’s presidency. Seriously.

Fay Vincent — baseball’s former top dog — relayed a story about how George W. wanted to succeed him as commish. Selig had apparently told Bush he would support his candidacy, but Vincent warned him not to trust Selig.

Vincent was right. Bud wanted the job for himself and the owners wanted someone who wouldn’t act independently.

Despite all evidence to the contrary, Bud claims he’s presiding over baseball’s golden age. No surprise, since shameless propaganda is the trademark of enemy agents.

Why the McCourt fiasco is good for the Braves

Frank McCourt, awarded the Dodgers by Bud Selig as a favor to Fox and the Red Sox, appears close to an agreement with MLB to sell the team he nearly destroyed.

McCourt makes Liberty Media look like the O’Malleys — not that Braves fans don’t deserve better than a disinterested, out-of-state  conglomerate. And thanks to the McCourt mess, MLB will no doubt be more careful about letting underfunded gold-diggers purchase a franchise. Then again, never overestimate the Used Car Salesman.

Though many in the media tend to have blinders on concerning Bud, it should be remembered that the blame for the Dodgers mess falls squarely on his shoulders.

Rowland’s still in charge

Rankin’ Rob wonders if the new template (which, as longtime Office readers know, is likely to change) means we’ve been co-opted by MLB.

No worries, it’s just a new WordPress template. For you skeptics, I present this repost:

Aaron, Yount and the Used Car Salesman?

If you happen to know a pigeon with the runs point him to Milwaukee:

The Milwaukee Brewers plan to unveil a statue honoring baseball commissioner and former owner Bud Selig on Aug. 24.

Selig’s likeness will join those of Henry Aaron and Robin Yount in front of Miller Park. Selig’s foundation donated the first two statues at the stadium.

‘A vile piece of shit’

Bizz Bissinger unloads on Frank McCourt.

Selig is clearly embarrassed by the allegations that have come out in divorce proceedings from his estranged wife Jamie McCourt, which revealed the millions that were reportedly taken from the Dodgers for personal use. In a court filing in 2009, McCourt said his liquid assets were less than $1.2 million and that he never used any money from the Dodgers’ franchise for personal expenses. But other court documents indicate otherwise. Some of those uses are said to have included:

  • The hiring of two sons of the McCourts for a total of $600,000, even though it appears they may have done virtually no work for that money, something the IRS is reportedly investigating.”
  • $150,000 a year on haircuts.
  • Seven country clubs.
  • Two homes in Malibu for $46 million and two in Holmby Hills for $26.5 million.

Most owners are and always will be insecure nerds no matter how many hundreds of millions they have inherited from their daddies for fun and games. It goes back to when they were kids, picked for baseball only because they owned not only all the bats and balls and bases but also a perfectly manicured stadium with a retractable roof.

At least most baseball owners like baseball, but I don’t think McCourt ever did. The elegant legacy of the Dodgers, stretching back into the days of Brooklyn and the leadership of Branch Rickey and then Walter O’Malley, meant nothing to him. As article after article indicates, his real interest was to develop a parking lot the Dodgers owned into a football stadium and other commercial property.

And Selig was his willing accomplice, acting, as Bissinger writes, in “the best interests of [Rupert] Murdoch.”

Fox also to blame for Dodgers mess

Another reason Bud gave the Dodgers to the McCourts? As a favor to Fox, according to Bill Plaschke.

Worst commissioner ever.

Worst Dodgers owner ever.

A club that once employed nine Hall of Famers was being run by an owner whose payroll included his children and a Russian physicist hired to channel positive energy.

The more the McCourts took care of themselves, the more they ignored the fans, allowing the stadium to decay to the point where there is graffiti in bathrooms and endless lines at concession stands. In an attempt to attract younger fans, their loudspeakers played music that celebrated violence, their video board featured rules explanations from SnoopDogg, and when I asked Jamie McCourt about the appropriateness of it all, she just shrugged and giggled.

Having been to several games pre-McCourts, the idea of long lines and graffiti at Dodger Stadium blows my mind. The place was immaculate — a true baseball palace.

Plaschke’s postscript:

The disgraced owner wasn’t sitting in his box Wednesday, but his legacy was there, the smattering of fans in the stands easily able to hear the angry lyrics from a trademark McCourt pregame song.

“Kick some ass,” screamed the loudspeakers.