THE SELIG SMOKESCREEN
Bud Selig must be the luckiest S.O.B. in the sports world. While he watches his counterpart in the NFL, Roger Goodell, spin on a spit over everything from a rash of domestic violence incidents and concussion issues dating back decades to stupid “celebration” penalty calls, Bud gets to sneak out baseball’s back door behind a facade of positive events not of his own doing. “Buddy Baseball”, who’s legacy should never stray from his responsibility for baseball’s “Steroid Era”, catches one break after another.
Not only for the way it impacted the late stages of the races, but for the teams it brought back into the mix, that second wild card created a diversion for Bud, taking attention away from two decades of mistreating baseball fans, who were subjected to last minute schedule changes from family friendly afternoon games to night games that became money thrown away on wasted tickets for families with kids, and ticket prices that soared into the stratosphere while Bud boldly claimed every ticket in baseball was affordable. There was never a revenue stream Bud wouldn’t let the owners explore, regardless of how ill treated the fans were as a result.
And, of course, there was that steroid thing. He was just as guilty as the guys who were pushing and using the stuff. But, like Wyatt Earp and that cloud of dust created by an onrushing stage coach, Bud Selig gets out of Dodge behind a smokescreen. His final post season as baseball commissioner has all the ear marks of being one for the ages, and it couldn’t have gotten off to a better first chapter than the Royals and A’s wrote last night in Kansas City.
The Royals are in the playoffs for the first time in 29 years and they advanced to the next round, opening against the Angels in Anaheim, where Red Sox fans well know miracles can begin. Giving this post season a fresh new look for baseball fans who were getting bored of the “Greatest Rivalry in Sports”, for the first time in 21 years the post season will be played without either the Red Sox or Yankees. In those 21 years the Red Sox and Yankees accounted for more than a third of the World Series championships.
For only the second time in that stretch the Pittsburgh Pirates got an engraved invitation to the party. The Royals have already applied a fresh new coat of paint to the proceedings, it would be just Bud’s luck if the Pirates apply a second coat tonight in the National League. The way things have been going for the most tainted commissioner in sports as he heads for the exit makes you want to lay down a shekel or two on a Royals-Pirates World Series. By the time the glow faded bud would be gone, all of his indiscretions forgotten, such has been his luck of late.
Roger Goodell can only wonder what kind of deal Bud cut with the forces of the dark side to get a send off like this.
With a comment from the sports world, I’m Scott Gray.