If I never, ever have to hear another word about the Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez, and his fully illegitimate home run total, I’ll die a happy man. Thanks to baseball commissioner Bud Selig, my sports-loving mind has now divided major league baseball players into two categories: true athletes…and cheaters. You have likely heard of all the guys in the second category – Barry “My-head-ballooned-to-the-size-of-Cleveland” Bonds, Sammy “Love-me-while-I-cheat” Sosa, Mark “When-I-did-it-it-was-OK” McGwire, Alex “I-fessed-up-so-that’s-cool” Rodriguez and Rafael “Nobody-lies-to-the-House-Government-Reform-Committee-like-I-do” Palmeiro. There are others. But these are the main guys who make me sick to my sporting stomach.
I am having tremendous difficulty accepting that, over the past decade-or-so, the wonderfully traditional game of baseball has been ruined. Thanks, Bud. Oh, I still love the World Series. Haven’t missed watching a single game in the Fall Classic since 1968. But, under Bud’s watch, the simple beauty of the game has become Miss America tripping and falling into a big, fat mud puddle.
The Bud Selig Gong Show began in 1994, when he couldn’t figure out a way to get the World Series played. Now that I think about it, asking Bud to solve that problem would have been a lot like expecting a donkey to solve a Rubik’s Cube. As an owner of the Milwaukee Brewers, back in the early 1980s, Selig worked with other owners to collude against baseball’s free agents. They ended up having to pay US$280M in damages to the players. Quite a guy, isn’t he?
In 2001, Selig was sued for racketeering and conspiring with Montreal Expos’ owner Jeffrey Loria to deliberately defraud the Expos’ minority owners. It was settled out of court. So now you see what kind of character we’re dealing with.
Just last June, when umpire Jim Joyce sadly blew a call that would have completed Tigers’ pitcher Armando Galarraga’s perfect game. Selig had the authority to reverse the call. But, possessing all the guts and gumption of an earthworm, Bud did nothing. And that’s what I hate about this whole tainted home run debate.
Here’s what Bonehead Bud should do. Stand up and declare, “You know what, folks. These records, established by players who have clearly cheated the game and the fans for many, many years, are henceforth going to be wiped from the record books. Period. Done. Goodbye, A-Fraud. See ya, Sammy. Bonds’ 73. McGwire’s 70. Gone. And, if you don’t like it. Tough. That’s the way it’s gonna be. For the good of the game!”
A. Bartlett Giamatti ultimately banned baseball’s hit king, Pete Rose, forever. All Pete did was bet on his own team…to win. Eight days after banning rose, at the age of 51, Giamatti had a fatal heart attack. Running major league baseball is, clearly, not a stress-free job.
But it is the way Bud Selig does it. Continues to turn his head. Continues to blab and contort his face when explaining the way he runs the game. A game that he has let become a joke.
In my mind, Hank Aaron is still baseball’s home run king. And only four players (Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays and Ken Griffey, Jr.) have legitimately hit 600 HRs. I continue to count down the days until the autumn of 2012. That’s when “Bud, the Brilliant” says he’ll leave the job.