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Barnes Blogs about... Selig stepping down

by Mike Barnes

Bio | Email | Follow: @MikeB_KVUE


Posted on September 26, 2013 at 4:37 PM

The AP news wire is highlighted when it's a "BIG" story and the one this afternoon was about baseball commissioner Bud Selig.

It didn't say anything about the baseball world rejoicing.

The commissioner is stepping down at the end of 2014 after more than two decades on the job.  It's been a stint filled with steroid scandals, an embarrassing tie in an all-star game, salaries that went out of control, and a season ending strike in 1994.

Lots to be proud of.

There was a time when baseball was America's Pastime.  But the popularity after the Selig stint makes you wonder if it's past time for him to leave.

There was not a baseball commissioner when Shoeless Joe Jackson and the Black Sox scandal almost ruined the game after the 1919 season.  The baseball owners realized they needed somebody strong and mean and strict to come in and fix things.   Welcome Kenesaw Mountain Landis.

He was exactly what baseball needed at the time.  He helped in the transformation to the live ball era, the Bronx Bombers, and helped influence stability.  He tried to handle problems like Ty Cobb, gambling, and barnstorming.

Like him or not, Landis helped make baseball America's Pastime.

But by the time of his death, baseball owners knew changes needed to happen.  The color barrier was something Landis was against breaking.  But Chandler was "Happy" for it to happen.  Hello Jackie Robinson.

But Chandler quickly wore out his welcome. Still too old school on some subjects.  So Ford Frick came on and welcomed expansion.

Under Ford, the owners were able to move around and expand.  Hello Los Angeles and San Francisco.  Greetings to the Mets, the Astros, the Angels and more.  The 50s were rockin' and the baseball owners had Ford Frick letting them join the fun.

But, again, times changed.  The 60s brought in new business with television contracts and more money.  Again, the owners hand picked somebody perfect for that part of the job.  William Eckert spearheaded the growth of baseball on TV.  

But Eckert was a military man.  Not ready for the labor unrest that was on the horizon.  So, again, the owners made a change.  Attorney Bowie Kuhn came in to handle the fights with the players union as the labor strife took hold of the game.

And Kuhn had to battle labor problems for the next 15 years.   But he took a lot of heat when the owners lost money in the 1981 strike and that cost Kuhn his job.

Peter Ueberoth did such a great job with the 1984 LA Olympics that owners thought he was the man they needed.  Keep revenues up and costs down.  Ueberoth did that, but collusion was a big reason why.  And that cost him his job.

Bart Giamatti and Fay Vincent were a tag team.  Giamatti took over just in time for the Pete Rose scandal and died right after.  Vincent then stepped in and tried to handle a players lockout and get a new TV contract, but he didn't do everything the way the owners wanted.  Goodbye Fay.

The owners had turned everything over to the office of the Commissioner when they created the role with Landis.  But they had gotten tired of not having the authority to do what they wanted.  Who needs discipline when you own your own team?

That's when the owners decided to hire one of their own.  Bud Selig is the man who brought baseball back to Milwaukee.  His family still owns the Brewers and that should've been the first red flag of his tenure.

Conflict of interest has highlighted his time in office, and looking the other way when bad things were coming down the pike.

Would Kenesaw Mountain Landis have allowed the steroid scandal that rocked the game, and continues to do so today?   When your family is going to make money off a ruling, is there not a conflict of interest.

And the worst thing is, now that Selig has soiled the seat of the commissioner's office, can anyone do the job correctly?

America's Past Time is past it's prime, which is sad for a baseball fan like me.

And Bud Selig deserves a lot of the blame.