July 13, 2002

BASHING BUD: To those who

BASHING BUD: To those who say all I do on this blog is rip on Commissioner Selig, on the level of Sullivan's anti-Paul Krugman fixation, I retort: just wait 'til the strike starts, 'cause you ain't seen nothing yet.
One thing Bud's always needed to work on is his timing. Take last year's decision to announce his doomed contraction plan a mere two days after the end of one of the greatest World Series ever. Then this week, the day after Selig's nearly universally reviled decision to call the All Star Game a tie after 11 innings, the Commish let slip in an interview that two major league teams were in "serious financial trouble," that one team was in such straights that they were in danger of not making payroll next Monday, and might even have to fold before the end of the season. The idea in saying so publicly, of course, was to scare the players' union into believing that Selig and the owners aren't bluffing, and therefore really are in the horrible financial hole that they say they are.
Sad thing is, the players (and media) called Selig's bluff, every suspect owner denied that it was them that was in trouble, and the Commish had to announce today that in fact every team will make payroll on the 15th of the month.
The most ironic thing about the looming strike is that perhaps for the first time in the history of baseball's labor relations, the owners have a pretty clear-cut case that they've got the moral high ground. There really is a need for greater competitive balance and revenue sharing, and of course it's time for baseball to introduce comprehensive testing for steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs. But whether its his horrible speaking style, his conflicts of interest as an owner, or his propensity towards crying wolf with regards to economic troubles, Selig's leadership has been so poor that there's no way he can be an effective spokesman for such issues. Of course, the fact that he's representing billionaires complaining about losing millions doesn't help his cause either.

Posted by Stephen Silver at July 13, 2002 12:10 AM
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