A few months ago, I wrote a letter to Bud Selig as part of a class project. Here was the letter I sent:
Dear Mr. Selig:
As part of a class project, we were assigned to write a letter to a person of interest; some wrote to President Barack Obama, others wrote to Former President George W. Bush. I chose to write to you for a variety of reasons.
I am passionate about the sport of baseball and wanted to discuss some of the issues facing the sport today. I would like to applaud you for the many of your implementations over the past few years.
Major League Baseball’s drug testing program is the strongest in sports. It has definitely leveled the playing field since its installment. Baseball has been hit hard by a number of steroid and performance-enhancing drug allegations, but in my opinion, MLB has handled them well.
I am also a huge proponent of interleague play.
I was only six-years-old when it was instituted, but it has certainly added a whole new dimension to the game. As a Yankee fan, I have seen some great interleague moments at Yankee Stadium, such as in 2002, when the crowd gave a standing ovation to Byung-Hyun Kim when he returned to the Stadium for the first time since the 2001 World Series. The Subway Series, between the Mets and the Yankees, is also a great thrill; every year, there is a huge rivalry, between the Met and Yankee fans, in our school.
However, with all due respect, there are some policies in baseball that I disagree with.
I am against the use of instant replay in baseball for several reasons. As you stated in November 2005, “Human error is part of our sport.” I believe this sets baseball apart from other sports. In football, you can call back a touchdown, but prior to this year in baseball, you could not “call back” a home run. Replay exists in the NFL because the NFL is made for television. Baseball is on television, but it is made to be watched in person, without unnecessary breaks in action.
Trust me, as a Yankee fan, I was angry at some of the atrocious calls made by the umpires at Yankee Stadium, earlier this year. Still, I believe that human error is a part of the game, and more so than not, the umpires get the calls right.
As I enter my college years, I will be looking into careers and majors, and ultimately I would love to do something in the sport of baseball.
As Tim Kurkjian said, “Baseball is the best game because once it grabs you, it never lets go; it is so seductive.” That said, I want to thank you for all that you have done for the sport since becoming commissioner. You have broadened its interest and allowed the game to progress perfectly into the twenty-first century. While we may not agree on many of the current issues facing the sport of baseball, I commend you for your work in improving the game.
I never expected to get anything back. But just a few weeks later, I received a personalized letter from Bud. Here it is:
Thank you for your letter of October 29, 2008. I really appreciate your intense interest in the sport of Baseball and I thank you for your thoughtful comments relative to our drug testing program and interleague play.
I certainly can understand your critique of instant replay. You know that we have only a limited form on home run calls and on the outfield walls as well as along the foul poles. The new ballparks have made it very difficult for umpires to see, and quite frankly, they even agreed with this. They had to run 200-300 feet to call a ball and in some of the parks it was impossible. That is why we went to a limited form of instant replay. There will be no further replay as long as I am Commissioner in the next 4 1/2 years.
Your Tim Kurkjian comment is absolutely accurate and I am delighted that you want to be in Baseball some day. We have great intern programs for individuals leaving college and I hope you will avail yourself of that opportunity.
It was a pleasure to hear from you and I thank you for taking the time to write to me. If there is anything further I can do to help you with your class project, please do not hesitate to contact me again.
Allan H. Selig
Commissioner of Baseball
For all the criticism Selig has endured, it says a lot about the man that he took the time to write back to me.
It’s also interesting that he capitalized “Baseball.” You don’t see that everyday.