Bud Selig’s career slash line is .000/.000/.000. He has zero plate appearances and zero batters faced. Bud Selig used to own the Milwaukee Brewers and has served as baseball’s commissioner for what seems like 200 years.
Bud Selig made a lot of rich men much richer. As those men get richer, the players — the top 1% of players, anyway — got much richer too. Lots of people around baseball are very rich. I might paraphrase Chris Rock here: the players are rich but the owners are wealthy.
Bu Selig’s lasting legacy will be one of wealth and prosperity. Not without some bumps in the road. Bud Selig piloted the good ship baseball to the best of his ability, ignoring or smashing down the bumps depending on their ability to prevent the wealthy people increasing their wealth.
I’m not class warrior – that’s the commissioner’s job. Keep the wealth flowing. Bud Selig did it well. That’s his mandate.
Every decision made under Selig’s stewardship was informed by its ability to increase wealth. Baseball is not alone in this pursuit. It feels like every action in our world is made in the interest of increasing the stock price. In ensuring a nice return for investors. This article-thing is no different, in its way.
Expanded playoffs, TV deals, steroids, All Star games, unbalanced schedules. Bud Selig put his name on these evolutions in baseball to make rich people richer. That’s it. Angry as it makes fans and writers, this is in scope in which Bud Selig’s job performance and lasting legacy must be judged. The relative health of the game comes second to the relative health of the stakeholders’s bottom line.
The labor peace, the increased international presence, whatever other positives you can draw from Selig’s tenure come back to the same mission statement. It’s a business and it’s his job. The flowery good of the game romance isn’t even a distant second.
It is for this reason I don’t really care if Bud Selig stays or goes. For more than 20 years, his was the face of a much larger decision-making machinery. Too much blame and too much credit lands at his feet in equal amounts. But he isn’t a baseball player. He wasn’t a baseball player. He won’t be a baseball player. So his coming and going doesn’t do much for me.
I mean, it does mean something to me. Not even I am so naive to believe his edicts from on high don’t trickle down and change the way teams and players approach the game. From front offices making aggressive moves in pursuit of the second wild card to players and their contract conditions dictating all aspects of team building. But these are still factors in the business of baseball, not the game of baseball.
I’m not smart enough of patient enough to spend much time worrying about the business of baseball. Whatever precious little understand I gained of the business side of the game is more a work hazard than legitimate personal interest.
When Bud finally steps away, some other man in a suit will take over and his goal and reason for being will be identical to Bud’s. Maybe he won’t be so schlubby or nebbish but his mandate the same. Somebody will write a book about Selig and history will smile on the wealth he helped transfer and the state of the game upon his exit (remarkably healthy.) But nothing will really change. Nor should it.
But you can’t make me care about it. This ironically detached post is the best you’ll get, Bud. Enjoy retirement. Thanks for not driving baseball into bankruptcy, I guess.