Ranking the 7 Weakest Calls of Bud Selig's Career as MLB Commish
MLB commissioner Bud Selig recently had a contract extension until the year 2014. He was originally slated to retire after the 2012 season, but after owners voted 29-1 to have him stay until 2014, he signed on board.
There is no doubt that plenty in the league has changed since Selig's arrival, some for the better and some for the worse.
Some of his highlights as commissioner are instituting interleague baseball and later making it a year-round event with the Houston Astros moving to the American League. Instant replay also came into fruition under Selig's oversight.
Finally, revenue sharing was introduced by Selig and it has helped bring parity to the sport to a greater extent. This is exemplified through all the thrilling playoff races year after year.
All of that being said, Selig's commissionership has also been marred by several actions (and sometimes lack thereof). These moments have made some believe that the NFL has surpassed Major League Baseball as America's pastime.
The television ratings are consistent with that opinion. While the Super Bowl has become a national event and annually shatters the record for the most-watched television event, MLB struggles to generate double-digit ratings for World Series games these days. The Fall Classic has not broken the 30 Nielsen rating since Game 7 of the 1991 World Series between the Minnesota Twins and Atlanta Braves.
Here are seven of the most questionable and terrible decisions by Bud Selig.
7. Not Granting Armando Galarraga's Perfect Game
On June 2, 2010, Armando Galarraga of the Detroit Tigers pitched the game of his life. He had a perfect game through the ninth inning and he just needed one more out to have his name sealed in baseball history forever.
Unfortunately, his name still ended up getting locked in baseball history, but for all the wrong reasons. On the next ground ball, it seemed like the Tigers recorded the final out and Galarraga had pitched a perfect game.
However, umpire Jim Joyce called the runner safe, jeopardizing the perfect game. In a rare act of sportsmanship, Joyce owned up to his mistake after the game.
This opened the door for Bud Selig to step in and overturn the call and award Galarraga with the perfect game, but instead he let it be.
Although it's rare for a commissioner in any sport to reverse a call, it has happened in baseball before back in the 1980s when then-commissioner Lee MacPhail overruled an umpire's call in the pine tar incident.
Besides that, if the umpire is owning up to his mistakes and replays clearly show that the runner is out, why wouldn't they grant him the perfect game? Why make the wrong call and be stubborn about a situation when the facts are right in front of your face?
The "naked eye" argument about how baseball should be officiated without any replay is completely bogus. People make mistakes and it's completely unfair to let something like this happen because of a stubbornness to use modern technology.
What Selig should've done years ago is change with the times and institute a fifth umpire in the press box who can buzz into any of the on-field umpires and overturn his call if replays show otherwise. This includes balls and strikes.
As a result, umpires will be more accountable to make the right call.
6. Not Contracting the Montreal Expos and Minnesota Twins
Wait, the Washington Nationals are an up-and-coming team and the Minnesota Twins have had plenty of success in the last decade in a brand new ballpark. How can you even suggest contraction?
That's not the point.
MLB has become too diluted. There are a plethora of players who don't belong in the Majors. By contracting two or more teams, the league gets rid of 50 of its worst players. As a result, the product becomes better.
It was actually Selig's idea to contract the Montreal Expos and the Twins back in 2002, but the way he handled it, having it voted on just three days after the 2001 World Series was poor. He was met with legal opposition and the plans foiled.
He never actively pursued contraction since then, but why not?
There are plenty of teams who just haven't been competitive in years and don't generate much revenue. Does MLB really need Pittsburgh, Oakland or even Tampa Bay to be viable?
5. Not Letting Mark Cuban Purchase the Dodgers
Ever since the Los Angeles Dodgers ownership mess started, Bud Selig and MLB have been reluctant to let Mark Cuban in the picture to buy the team.
It makes no sense, though.
How does Bud Selig let Frank McCourt, who had most of his holdings in real estate, a market hit extremely hard by the recession, own a team, but not a guy who has proven to be a successful owner and more importantly is liquid in cash?
The answer is right in front of Selig's face. Let Cuban buy the team and he'll raise the Dodgers out of hell. Who cares if he has no manners?
4. The Unbalanced Schedule
Baseball fans, the reason why we have to see the Cleveland Indians and the Kansas City Royals play for the 16th time every season is because of the unbalanced schedule.
Just think about it for a second. You're an American League team. There are 13 other American League teams. You have 162 games to play and each of those games has to be divided among those 13 American League teams, with the exception of a few interleague games.
It's going to get a tad boring, don't you think?
Why doesn't MLB just have a more balanced schedule?
And no, I'm not talking about within your own league. How about opening it up for all of MLB? It'll be so much more exciting if the Red Sox are guaranteed to play against the Cardinals, Dodgers and Cubs every year.
A lot more exciting than that 14th game against the Baltimore Orioles.
So what if it breaks tradition? Every other American professional sports league had mergers throughout its history. You don't see NFC teams exclusively playing against NFC teams in the NFL. It just doesn't make sense in the MLB.
When tradition trumps logic, you get Pirates vs Reds, Round 14.
Change with the times, baseball!
3. 2002 All-Star Game Ending in a Tie
When the 2002 All-Star Game went deep into extra innings and the unwritten rule of having everyone play in the All-Star Game fell apart completely, there were no players left to play.
This meant MLB had to come up with a decision. What do we do in this situation?
Oh, how about let's call it a draw.
Letting that exciting All-Star game end in a draw was a huge travesty for the league. A league that is so based on tradition. Since when were draws a part of baseball anyway?
They couldn't hold a home run derby to decide a winner?
In fact, there is still no rule on what will happen if an All-Star game goes deep into extra innings. We almost had an identical situation in the 2008 All-Star Game, but luckily Terry Francona and Clint Hurdle managed their players properly and the game eventually ended.
2. Having the All-Star Game Decide Home-Field Advantage
As if calling the 2002 All-Star Game a draw wasn't bad enough, Bud Selig mandated that the All-Star game actually mean something so it wouldn't end in a draw the following year.
Novel idea, yes. Sounds cool, sure.
However, in what way is Brian McCann's MVP performance in the All-Star game a few years ago relevant to the San Francisco Giants earning home-field advantage in the World Series?
There's just no correlation.
The All-Star game is just an exhibition game and it should stay that way. As mentioned in the previous slide, if there is a tie, there should be a gimmicky home run derby to decide the winner. That is all.
1. 1994 World Series Cancellation
Talk about a way to kill a sport.
When Bud Selig cancelled the 1994 World Series, baseball fell into the tank for awhile. It wasn't until the steroid era, where the sport jumped in popularity again. In fact, it can be argued that the steroid era saved the sport.
Once again, kind of ironic that a commissioner so focused on tradition was willing to cancel baseball's biggest one.