With the recent announcement from Commissioner Allan Huber "Bud" Selig that he will step down in 2012, it has brought to reality that soon, though not soon enough, we will see the end of the "Selig era" of Major League Baseball. Though there have been some positive things that have come from Mr. Selig, there are three overpowering negatives that override the positives.
Some of the positives which we have witnessed over the last 17 years include a stiff penalty for those who get caught using any drugs prohibited by MLB, state or federal laws, a divisional realignment, and the introduction of the wildcard. We have also seen the introduction of expansion teams (Arizona and Tampa Bay). Good for you Mr. Selig. However...
Calling an All-Star game a tie because the managers mis-managed a game and left themselves with no pitchers...shame on you. As a baseball fan, you should know better. Even worse, you took the mid-summer classic and made it "mean something". How can you say that an exhibition game decides who hosts the World Series? Are you kidding me? STRIKE ONE.
In 2002, you got the Luxury Tax agreed to by the owners. Nice try, but oops! Unfortunately, teams like the Yankees and Red Sox hand money to teams such as the Pirates and Royals, who are supposed to improve product on the field. However, the contract is too unspecific, so they can claim using it elsewhere. STRIKE TWO.
The introduction of interleague play was nice for a bit, but, it has run it's course. You cannot create rivalries. You just can't make Astros fans hate Rangers fans and you can't make Pirates fans hate Indians fans. It just doesn't work that way. More importantly, in 2008 four divisions were decided by three games or less and in 2007, four divisions were decided by two games or less. How different would the post season have been had teams not played 18 interleague games, but faced their division rivals. FOUL BALL.
Foul Ball??? You're still alive at the plate Mr. Selig. How about you step out of the box, adjust your gloves, kick the mud off your spikes, wipe the sweat from your brow, fix your helmet and listen to the cries from the fans in the stands...and make the "Selig Era" a positive era.
First: Baseball was always been unique in the fact that the Championship (World Series) was played by two teams that had NOT played each during the regular season. This made it "special" and alluring to those casual fans who normally didn't care. Now, it's just another series between two teams.
In 1979, the Pittsburgh Pirates and Baltimore Orioles drew a television rating of 28. In 1987, the St. Louis Cardinals and Minnesota Twins drew a 24. Notice Mr. Selig, that these are small market teams. Since the inception of interleague play, World Series ratings have not reached 17*. Please stop interleague play, it's not good for baseball.
Second: The All Star game is supposed to be an exhibition game. Fun, family friendly, and a joy to watch. It's supposed to be the best of the best playing a game and putting on a display of talent. Take the voting away from the fans...they don't vote for the best, they vote for their favorite. We want the best, therefore let each manager have two votes per position; the top two vote getters go. Simple. Then, when the game is over, everyone had fun and that's it. It means nothing, like it should.
And finally: Collective bargaining is coming. Simply demand that the owners agree that all money received from the luxury tax be spent on player salary. Even the playing field so that more teams can be competitive. It would be good and profitable for baseball.
Mr. Selig: we, the fans are asking you for three major changes. You have three years to complete them. Be the Commissioner, take charge and do the right thing. Hit a grand slam for the "Selig era", don't strike out...Hey, Mr. Selig, can you hear us?
*ratings are based on statistics found at: http://www.baseball-almanac.com