Friday, May 1, 2009

Baseball in the MayTime: Speculation Row

About once a season, the crafty Cecil and I sit down over some sweet tea and edamame, and we chat about baseball. Okay. Fine. It's cheese-filled brats and Pabst Blue Ribbon, but you get the drift. Typically, we have an agenda lined up for these chats, and we stick to it, ironing out all of the crucial (in our minds) details about the subject, and our opinion-offering is never scarce. This is not one of those times. Not to worry. We have, somewheres beyond the jump, plenty of opinions, and they'll come at you like a drag bunt, so in case you're playing us deep, this is your warning to be prepared. No matter where you're positioned, though, we invite you to join us, and please -- feel free -- to ransack our attempts at intelligence in the comments, or just lose yourself in the vastness of text as if the whole thing were a three-hour freshman Western Civ. lecture on a dreary Tuesday morning. Enjoy!

Bankmeister: Been a while since we talked diamond ball, and I’m excited to get back into a fresh chat with you. I caught this really impressive interview with Mark Teixeira the other day, and you’ve mentioned him recently and what his presence has meant to your fantasy baseball clubs in seasons past, as well as how you feel disappointed to’ve not tagged him as a keeper for this season. In one of our previous chats you talked about your brain and baseball as a kid, and how, given that you were a stat junky, fantasy baseball would’ve been awesome had it been around back then. Couple that with your impressive ability at scouting college football players as they prepare to transition for the NFL draft. I’m curious as to what your tendencies are with young baseball players coming out of high school and college. Do you invest time in studying them as well? Had you heard of Tex’ before he was nabbed by the Rangers? Did it surprise you that he won Rookie of the Year in 2003?

Cecil: Honestly, I don't do that much research on the MLB draft. I mean, I read a bit about it in advance, of course, but we all do that.
The reason, beyond the fact that football simply occupies more of my adult headspace, is that the baseball draft is always a bet on the come -- these kids are usually teenagers, straight out of high school. There are a few college players, sure, but most of them are 18 years old and won't matter to their big clubs for a few years, if they ever do. Plus, the thing is like 34 rounds, which makes for crazy reach picks -- I think the Rockies drafted Michael Vick, for instance, when he was at Virginia Tech.

All in all, the MLB draft is a mess without the instant gratification provided by that of the NFL, where you can see pro-ready players contribute to your favorite team relatively quickly. Baseball is like hockey in that regard.

B: Okay. To get more specific then, did you have any thoughts on Teixeira from 2003-05, or say, before he was on your fantasy team? Were you interested in him or his stats, or how he might help the Rangers become a contender for the A.L. West? I mean, I know it’s Texas, so who cares, right? But I’m curious what your initial thoughts about him were, and if you had any opinions about his trade to the Braves, and of course, his eventual signing with the Evil Empire. With regard to the interview, the two topics discussed that were most interesting to me were a) switch-hitting and b) losing.

Tex’ was asked about the development of his switch-hitting abilities, and how, playing in Little League, he was almost always a dominant force. In the early years, his dad suggested that he toy around with batting left-handed when his teams were ahead in games, when he was having a lot of individual success at the plate. Then, when he was around 14, he became “bored” with hitting righty, and his dad urged him to get serious about it, which he did, and of course, became good. He went on to say that hitting from both sides in the Bigs can be a challenge because there can be stretches where you face starting right-handed pitchers several days in a row, and then the opponent starts a lefty, and he has to go back to the right. As he points out, it can take a few at bats to get your right-handed swing back in a rhythm, especially since it tends to be more of a level swing, or even a chop. Left-handed swings, he says, are more of an uppercut, the proverbial golf swing, if you will.

I was intrigued by this because my grandfather insisted that his first-born son switch hit from an early age, and my uncle, in turn, showed my mom. It skipped my aunt, but their younger brother learned as well, and some combination of them all taught me and my male cousins to switch hit as well. Given that I wasn’t talented or disciplined enough to play ball beyond high school, I never “got bored” at the plate hitting right-handed, but with practice at a young enough age, I didn’t feel like developing my left-handed swing was that difficult.

And all of this makes me wonder why there aren’t more switch-hitters out there now. It seems like they became very mildly prevalent in the 1980s, but I don’t feel like we see a ton more switch-hitters the better part of two decades later. Is my observation off? Would you say that there are lots more today? If the answer is no, why aren’t parents of talented baseball youth at least attempting to instill the ability in their kids, especially if the kids we’re seeing in the MLB draft are in fact that much younger than those entering the NFL’s?

C: Before he was on my team, I thought: switch-hitter with power. Guy with a hard-to-pronounce name. Could eventually be one of the best players in the league.

After, I thought: why isn't he better?

Not to be flip, but he was one of those dudes who never seemed like he was going to live up to the potential. He had a great end to '05, but the next year -- or maybe the one after, I can't remember -- he was as cold as ice, and I was growing increasingly willing to sacrifice my love of having him as my eternal keeper.

But then, after he was traded to the Braves and ended up in LA, it seemed to click for him. He seemed like he was growing into his vast potential -- seriously, who else in the Bigs has his combo of glove, power and intangible "intangibles"? So of course, with the guy finally coming into his own, I let him go.

That may or may not work out for me. The guy I kept instead was Evan Longoria. Early returns are in my favor.

As far as the switch-hitting, I agree with your perspective. I don't have any numbers in front of me, but it sure does seem like there are fewer and fewer. Is it because of specialization? Too many parents want their kids to do one sport and one sport only -- could that mindset be a part of it? Fear of failure is a powerful thing, and parents with dreams of big league contracts might not want to risk a kid's development by allowing him to experiment and learn from failure. I don't agree with that, but it certainly could be a factor.

I taught myself how to bat lefty, because I didn't have anyone to help me -- by the time I was 10, my Dad couldn't walk on his own, and my mom had too much stuff going on to throw tennis balls to a deluded nerd like myself. It didn't carry over to my games because I was afraid of trying it, but I could definitely swing lefty, and still can.

But you're right, you definitely have to learn early. And you need to have people around you willing to help.

B: Agreed. People willing to help is certainly a must.

What about left-handed pitching? Obviously, neither of us are doctors, or scientists, or anatomists, but somewhere in the vein of adult influences on potential young baseball talent, comes the debate of arm strength. It seemed like, when we were growing up, the only pitchers you faced were righties; when a southpaw took the mound, you were like – what happened to this kid? I think you could make the argument that the increase in big-league lefties in the last two decades dwarfs the increase of switch-hitters, but as you said, I’m making such claims sans stats. When boys are born to sports-fan fathers, you oftentimes hear jokes of the put-a-baseball-in-that-kid’s-left-hand-before-every-bottle variety, but, in your estimation, is that happening with any legitimate frequency? Are there lefties out there that became lefties because of influence, in cases where they might very well’ve been a natural righty? And since we’re cruisin’ Speculation Avenue, what are your thoughts on the alleged fewer-and-fewer switcheroos versus a growing, albeit slowly, number of lefties?

Your Cubbies, perhaps are a good model in that they have lefties slated in the two and five slots with Ted Lilly, and Sean Marshall, respectively. The Royals, however, have an all-righty rotation. And Old No. 7’s Sox have only Jon Lester as it stands right now with their four-man swing. How valuable is it to have one or two lefties in your starter mix?

C: You're right on when you say speculation, because I honestly have no idea what the stats are as far as how many kids are born left-handed, or if there are more left-handed pitchers in the Bigs these days versus fewer switch-hitters or the price of tea in Beijing (although I could actually probably find that out relatively easily, but I'm lazy and hung over).

It's my perspective that teaching a kid to bat lefty is easier than teaching a kid to throw lefty, only because I look like a floundering porpoise when I try and toss a baseball with my sinister hand. My guess why? Because batting is more a matter of hand placement and stance: if you practice the fundamentals enough, you can do it.

But re-training your body's natural instinct to favor one hand or the other is a much, much more difficult proposition. Not that it can't be done -- left-handed kids have been forced to be righties by narrow-minded adults pretty much forever -- but editing Mom Nature's genetic blueprint isn't easily accomplished.

I think that the shrinking number of switch-hitters -- if that's even true, but we're assuming it is for the benefit of this conversation -- is more a matter of parents and coaches who buy into the modern youth sport culture of specialization. Do one thing and one thing only. The number of lefties is probably static, because I doubt more left-handed kids are being born these days. But I could be wrong.

B: Alright. Enough speculation for now. Let's talk championships for a minute. In one of our previous chats (Editor's Note: It's not exactly mentioned there, but hey -- free pub'.), you mentioned the 1984 season, and cursed the Padres, I believe. Imagine for a minute, that your Denver Broncos hadn't ever won the big dance. What would the comparison of longing for a Cubs WS championship look like in comparison to a Broncos SB championship. I mean, you already mentioned that football occupies much more brain space. But do you, or can you, get as excited about a big post-season push from ChiC in the same way you can for Denver?

And right back into the speculation, how do you think the two compare? That is, how does a lifelong Chicago native feel about a Cubs championship versus one for the Bears? Obviously, the Bears have one, and made the SB again a couple years ago in the Great Bloach conspiracy season, but is it plausible that settling for a pennant is much larger in baseball, whereas a division title in football doesn't mean squat?

C: First, screw the San Diego Padres.

While I don't want to imagine that, the comparison of longing would probably not be equal -- as much as I love, and have loved, the Cubs, I'm too far removed from the daily hurlyburly of local Chicago sports to feel the same way I would about the Broncos in the same situation.

Also, Chicago's history of losing is so well-documented and accepted that it's almost a perverse mark of pride. Cubs fans might pretend that they get crushed by each successive failure, but deep inside there's this feeling of "ah, well, whatever." I mean, if your team sucks consisently, and spectacularly, for more than a century, you develop a thick carapace of cynicism to fight off the depressions.

My guess is, a lifelong Chicagoan, assuming they live on the north side and don't subsist on a diet of trash can leavings and cigarette butts, would probably be more excited about the Cubs. If only because the Bears have won one in recent memory. Not that that city wouldn't go dogshit crazy if the Bears won again, but the aurora of success still hangs on that franchise. If the Cubbies took home a series, Wrigleyville might actually collapse upon itself like a dying star.

And yes, I do think that a pennant in baseball still means more than a division title in football, for one major reason: the concept of a "pennant" still resonates. It makes you think of bleachers and popcorn and flags a-snappin' in the breeze. Even if it means the same thing as a conference championship in football and is no harder or easier to attain.

B: Okay. At this point, we have forgone any sort of seamless transition, but the topics are of importance on some level for some guy -- maybe in Wrigleyville -- on some computer in some basement. And the topic I'm leaning toward is losing.

It's not a pleasant topic, one, if I may, that you're not all that qualified to comment on, given that, you just mentioned being removed from the hurlyburly as far as your baseball team. Add to that, that the worst your football team has gone in your (recollectable) lifetime is 6-10 (I think); that is, you've experienced great success as a fan of the Denver Broncos, and you've had a moment or two with the Cubbies, with winning the pennant, etc. I'd even throw in the Rockies' WS appearance for shits and giggles.

But, the impetus for this exchange was the Teixeira interview, and perhaps the most profound part of the whole thing was his bluntness with regard to losing. He said -- and I don't recall exactly how the question was posed -- without hesitation, that the losing was far and above the hardest thing about coming into the league, regardless of personal successes, hype, signs of hope, etc. As a Texas Ranger, it was brutal for him to lose, and lose, and lose some more. Now, not being in the hurlyburly of Texas Ranger baseball, I can't speak for any of the fans that were closely following that team through those years, and I don't know how much, if any, of his frustrations he voiced to, or how much of his non-verbal signs were picked up by, the media.

Removed from the situation now, however, he has no beef talking about it point blank. I'll ask you to compare, if possible, that scenario to one of our oft-discussed/beat-to-death topics here inside the House of Georges: Tony Gonzalez and the trade that finally came to be.

You have Tex', his potential, and his hype, and no matter the strides he made, his club blew, day in and day out. Based on what he said in the interview, it wore him out mentally, and it's plausible that it affected his performance on the field. We already looked at Gonzalez's career numbers to date, and for varying and obvious reasons, he flourished much more quickly. It was in the most recent one and-a-half to two seasons, though, that he began to express his frustrations, analyze his consistent giving to the team/playing to the most of his potential, and exhibit his desires to be given the chance to play for a contender before his time was up.

What if Teixeira had come into the league, began mashing out of the gates, and, within 10 years, shattered a number of records and made himself an arguable candidate for the best of all time in his position. But say around year eight or nine -- and he's still a Ranger -- he began saying that he saw his window closing, that he wanted to win a playoff game and have a chance to win a championship, and the Rangers still sucked. Like, they're in rebuilding mode phase three, sub-category 12. Would it be more accepted? Would he garner fan empathy? Avoid the labels of crybaby and primadona? I mean, you could even throw in breaking an RBI record for first baseman, and being upset about not being given the opportunity to break it at home.

Ultimately, this is football versus baseball, and that makes it goofy, and of course we're talking about one of your least-favorite football players. But what it Tex' had gone through the same scenario, and the team/fans really wanted to keep him around because they loved his game, he was the face of the franchise, etc., but his patience had worn thin, and he wanted to be traded to a contender?

C: The Cubs' history of losing applies some mystical mathematical lever to all of the other teams -- football, basketball, hockey, cricket -- claimed by the squad's fans. So while the Broncos have been largely awesome in my life, the Nuggets are recently competitive and the Colorado State Rams own a majestic history called the mid-to-late '90s, Chicago's National League entry weighs the ledger to the negative.

The Broncos have had a few bad ones. They went 5-11 in 1990, 6-10 a few times and only won two games in the first strike-shortened year. Still, that's obviously pretty damn good. So, yeah, I don't have the intimate relationship with the loser's Nehi that you do, how it tastes like ashes and bile. I imagine it must be damned frustrating to be the fan of, say, a squad like the '94 Chiefs. Or the '97 Chiefs. Or the 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 Chiefs. Or the Royals in general. I've been unfamiliar with it, unaccustomed to its face (and yes, I did just drop that My Fair Lady science). Well, at least up until recently. I suppose I'll have to develop a thicker skin and a greater tolerance for Polish vodka.

Players beg out of situations they don't like all the time for a variety of reasons: contracts, changes of scenery, wussiness, whatever. Doesn't bother in me in the slightest. I even understand those who claim on one hand to be all about the their fans, the city, etc. when in fact they want to beat ass out at the first opportunity and move to South Beach. Pretty sure Shannon Sharpe never lived in Denver in the off-season. And, of course, I have sympathy for the star athlete, the (debatably) best ever at his position who wants to finally win after years and years of losing, even if it means breaking a few local hearts in the process.

Yet there is a fundamental flaw in the question you pose: the two principals are not equal. Mark Teixeira hasn't won a Series, no, and he played on some terrible Rangers teams. Even assuming your scenario, this isn't 1954 baseball, this is Scott Boras baseball -- Tex is in the prime of his career right now and arrived last fall at the seemingly inevitable confluence of his free agency and a deep-pocketed, desperate buyer. So go to it, kid, make that cheddar, as Lenny Dykstra would say. I bear no ill will to Mark Teixeira.

Neither, though, do I give a flying fuck at a rolling donut about Mark Teixeira. Mark Teixeira could stand next to me in a broken-down elevator with no power for two hours and I doubt I'd recognize him. As a player, he's caused me some mild headaches as a fantasy owner (although early returns suggest I was right in keeping Longoria instead), but never beaten my team in a big game with a memorable hit or called Cub fans a pack of drunken, howling apes or anything, so who, really, gives a wild rhino's ass about Mark Teixeira?

Tony Gonzalez is a different story. Tony Gonzalez has caused me great heartache. Tony Gonzalez has made big catches in big games, scored touchdowns at important moments. Tony Gonzalez re-wrote the great #84's records. Tony Gonzalez played college basketball in Berkeley when I spent a lot of time there, working at a call center and smoking crystal methamphetamine, so I got to hear a lot about Tony Gonzalez before I ever heard a lot about Tony Gonzalez. Tony Gonzalez doesn't eat meat, is married to a rapture-inducing babe named after my favorite month of the year and saved a guy from choking to death. Tony Gonzalez.

So you'll understand, then, when I say: Tony Gonzalez can wrap Tony Gonzalez's lips around the tailpipe of eternal failure known as the Atlanta Falcons all he wants. I don't begrudge his passive-aggressive exit from your team; he had the juice and he earned it.

But I root for Tony Gonzalez to wear, for the rest of life and career, a little scrap of red & white cloth with the phrase eternal loser embroidered upon it in golden thread.

B: Very fascinating. Really. Every last bit of it. I didn't actually intend for you to imagine that you had some emotional tie to Tex'. I guess Ryne Sandberg would've been a better example. Or perhaps the suggestion that Sharpe's experience mirrored that of Gonzalez's, but that would've been too easy. And dumb. You did, nevertheless, answer my question, and even if it means you picture him inhaling carbon monoxide with said thready cloth affixed to his personage, it means something.

But football and Tony Gonzalez, believe it or not, were not the point of the exercise. I guess I just found myself shocked, perhaps because you seldom hear it, at the brutal honesty with which Tex' relayed his feelings about losing, and just how damn miserable it was. I also understand the differences between baseball and all else, and that free agency can mean get your dough and get out. I just wondered if a Rookie of the Year award and a Gold Glove flanking two MVPs might instill a bit of that see-this-thing-through in the kid, but I personally could look no further than the whole Carlos Beltran deal as a similar, backyard situation.

The next topic I wanted to address involves, well, some speculation. But before I get to it, who would be able to recognize anybody in a broken-down elevator with no power for two hours. Isn't it dark?

Just had to ask.

Seriously, though: the closer. Over the last two-three seasons, I've heard lots of baseball guys talk about the incomparable difference between 1970s and '80s baseball with baseball of today, for the sheer sake -- obviously there are others, but humor me -- of the different approaches when it comes to pitching. The experts, if you will, say that the starters of today can never be compared to the starters of our youth because the starters back then pitched, like, a ton more.

I mean, today you have quality starts and pitch counts and middle relievers and setup guys and closers. Granted, there were some of those things happening back when, but simply put, starters back in the day just had to gut it out. What do you suppose was the impetus for such a transition, and what five-year time frame would you peg for its onset? We know that closers have been around for some time, but when did pitching become such a decompressed, structured entity? Or has it alwasy been, and we just were not aware of it? Was it the abundance of Tommy John surgeries, and wrecked arms everywhere?

Also -- and this one's puzzling -- the debate between keeping a guy as your closer, or shifting him into the rotation. I imagine that it's a club-by-club evaluation, but on occasion, you see a club with say, a good one and a good two in the rotation, and a guy that's really coming into his own as a closer. Almost as soon as the buzz starts circulating about this might-be closer kid, there're discussions of sliding him into a starter role. Thing is, closers don't go every night, and once in a while they've gone two, maybe three nights in a row, but they've got to have rest before they're available for their next appearance.

What I don't get is, if you throw for one inning on consecutive nights, but can't go the third, how are you supposed to go for five and-a-third (at minimum) every four-five starts?

C: Yes, probably, if only for no other reason than every time I hear Ryne Sandberg's name I burst into tears.

As far as the elevator: they have those little blue emergency lights, right? Or maybe only the high-class kind. Would you meet Mark Teixeira on a lowbrow lift?

Your question, though, brings up serious issues that serious bloggers would likely murder us all for mistaking in any way, so I'll have to tread carefully. When did complete games begin to give way to saves, and, later, holds? I say it really started with Marshall. Mike Marshall.

There were certainly "closer" types before his turn on the '70s Dodgers -- Hoyt Wilhelm and Elroy Face spring to mind -- but Marshall was the bridge between the old long relief guys and the current incarnation. He pitched, as I recall, in like 100 games one season. Maybe more than one. That's flippin' unbelievable. Gossage and Rollie Fingers were contemporaries, but their roles more closely mimicked what we have today, even if they did go longer than one inning. I'd say, just off the top of my slightly hung-over noggin, that the five years between 1968-73 really saw the biggest shifting of gears; you could argue that it might be '72-77 and be just as accurate.

How'd it start? Your guess is as good as mine, although I think you've hit on the most probable notion: situational managing, combined with the obvious reality of dead arms. Remember that baseball isn't a sport that learns quickly. My god, just look at the kerfuffle over so-called "moneyball," with guys like Tracy Ringolsby ready to draw pistols over what amounts to nothing more than smart player evaluation. Rest assured that if something has been done one way for a long time in the Bigs, it's likely going to keep being done that way for a long time.

Your final point is a complete mystery to me. I think it just goes to the idea that we touched on earlier: specialization. Except in this case, instead of tunnel-visioned parents trying to raise future Kobes and Tigers, you have tunnel-visioned managers and executives overthinking pitch counts. I, personally, believe that starters are more important than closers, and have no idea why anyone would need to coddle a guy who might only be throwing two-thirds of an inning. Mike Marshall does not approve.

B: Conveniently, I know nothing about little blue elevator lights, nor am I familiar with a lowbrow lift, unless it's one of those old-fashioned deals with the dual gates in front.

I was, nevertheless, wondering how we might possibly transition towards the last topic I had in mind, but alas, you've solved the problem for me: "Rest assured that if something has been done one way for a long time in the Bigs, it's likely going to keep being done that way for a long time."

The topic then, is the one and only Allan H. "Bud" Selig. It seems that we can't have a diamond chat without mentioning the commissioner, and today is no different. I'm going to hand you and I both a three-part assignment. We'll both promise to keep our eyes on our own paper, and have the confidence to complete the task with relative ease.

The task is this:

1) A 500-word (on the nose) synopsis/editorial of Selig, his tenure, or both.

2) A haiku about the man or the game under his watch

3) A prediction on the year his term will come to an end.

Know, friend, that I am totally serious about this. There will be no make-ups, extra-credit opportunities, or hangover excuses accepted. Ready? Write.

(Editor’s Note: I place my contribution first, as it will certainly be inferior.)

B: Synopsis: Of all the many instances in life wherein the cliché (or some form of it) “I could do a better job than that” is uttered, Bud Selig is the ultimate embodiment. That is, his position as Major League Baseball’s commissioner – now technically in year 17 – has been nothing shy of absurd. He will, assuming he holds the office through 2012 – and his latest contract extension says that he’ll do just that – fall just shy of Kenesaw Mountain Landis’ longest-ever tenure of 24 years, and that one only stopped ‘cause he died in office; that’s how dudes held offices back then. And that fact literally makes me want to weep. David Stern and Gary Bettman have taken their lumps, no doubt, but they’ve also overseen some pretty important transitions in their respective sports. Meanwhile, the NFL’s commissioners have repeatedly handled many important issues over the years in what is, the most high-profile post of the four majors. Bud Selig, on the other hand, has hidden behind every door, and let a splatter of diarrhea fester into a living, breathing shit-storm that has taken over the proverbial bathroom of the entire game. And all of the rest of the baseball figures have stood by and let him take the lumps. He’s an idiot for not addressing issues when they first surface, and a fool for letting his idiotic ways turn his rep and his image into that of a mental midget.

I struggle to think of a professional in the public eye that has conducted business with less ownership and integrity than baseball’s commissioner, and while some have been critical of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s actions and decisions while in office, I applaud them. It seems that commissioners' tenures come and go, and they are, after the fact, labeled in the name of one or two major things that were accomplished while said leader was in office. For the sake of his humanity, I feel sorry for Bud Selig; he was obviously not the right man for the job, nor could he (perhaps) have seen the issues coming that he would face. To squander responsibility and dodge multiple truths in the fashion that Selig has, is an embarrassment to the sport. Having said that, it will likely be easier for his predecessor to be more successful; he couldn’t possibly be any worse. I will, nevertheless, take great joy in the day in which said successor takes the oath, for it will blaze the trail to long overdue change. The nearest comparison I can draw to Selig would be our late president, George W. Bush, who, even Republicans will admit, was an absolute disaster. The obvious irony there, is that both are former owners of MLB franchises. The only difference being that W. returns to his native shithole Lone Star State, while Selig remains a relative of the Badger State. I posit that there is no irony in the suggested origin of the word badger: corn-hoarder, for Selig has acquired and stored his share.


Allan H. Bud, you
Ho-less pimp in fake projects,
May you flip burgers.

I imagine that he actually trolls around through the contract, and is out, after heading a replacement committee, in 2012.

C: Synopsis: Bud Selig is a guy. A guy who looks like he's eternally taking a really satisfying crap. He used to sell cars and was frat brothers with the General Manager (I think?) of the San Diego Padres. He lives in Milwaukee, where he once owned the Brewers, a historically boring team with great in-park promotions, like people dressed as sausages who race each other and Bob Uecker.

He is the Commissioner of Major League Baseball. His tenure has been marked by such highlights as a tie in an All-Star Game, the sudden unwelcome relevance of said game thanks largely to his big thinkin' and the regular delivery of flatbed trucks loaded with $100 bills to the various doorstops of baseball's ownership group.

Along with the MLB Player's Union's Don Fehr, Selig is largely seen as the guy who enabled Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Sylvester Stallone and Eight Belles to jack themselves up with steroids and escape any kind of "official" sanction from the League office. This, of course, is nonsense -- the enabler was Andy Dick. And also the makers of those big intramuscular needles, who should all be tried like war criminals and executed in the street.

Bud Selig sits in the stands like he's someone, chats on he cell like he got someone to talk to. Bud Selig has presided over an administration that continues to keep Pete Rose out of the Hall of Fame (that was just for you, Admin). For that matter, he's also shitting on Shoeless Joe Jackson. He should kick Ty Cobb out and put Joe Jackson in. Also, George Brett. Just because. We can fill his spot with Ed Kranepool.

The public view of baseball is that Bud Selig is a toady, a lickspittle. The public view is that he makes the owners a lot of money and doesn't care how he does it. The public view is that Bud Selig has probably never indulged in steroids himself, but his game is asterisked anyway. The Public view is, in this rare occasion, right the fuck on. Way to go, Bud. You could have been another Kenesaw Mountain Landis, but you couldn't even top Bowie Kuhn.

Remember Fay Vincent? Fay Vincent was booted in a coup, partly because he called out Selig for collusion. Vincent even went so far as to refer to it as a "280 million dollar theft." Bud apparently didn't like being called a thief, even though Bud is one, so Bud and his fellow plutocrats worked it so that Bud himself, the cheat, ended up with Fay Vincent's job. Gotta say, nicely played.

Bud thinks everything is A-OK, even though Bud has presided over the biggest crisis of public confidence in baseball since 1919 and exhibited the leadership of a small, uncarved block of wood. In fact, it's easy to imagine Bud looking in the mirror every morning, poppin' a flex and a flip of the combover and thinking you've still got it, you old stud horse, you.


He Wears Spectacles
Glasses Make You Look Smarter
But Not In This Case

The year Bud's term comes to an end: 2011.

B: Very well done, Chief. Like always, it's been a pleasure. We'll have to take in a game one of these days.


Cecil said...

"that one only stopped ‘cause he died in office; that’s how dudes held offices back then"