Nobody's Bud: an Open Letter to Commissioner Selig
May I call you Bud? I know that you have one of the "hardest" jobs in the world, and you have to make tough decisions all the time, but do you really have to make the wrong choice 95 percent of the time?
Now, I'm not writing this letter to berate you, per se. However, I was wondering if you could justify some of your decisions to me and everyone else in the baseball world.
I would like to start on July 9, 2002, at Miller Park. Yes, this was the infamous All-Star Game in which you decided to end the game in a tie. In retrospect, I don't really have a problem with you ending the game in a tie.
However, I have a problem with what you have decided to do with the All-Star Game since then.
You seemingly saw the joking around and light-hearted play of the 2002 All-Star Game (highlighted by Barry Bonds tossing Torii Hunter over his shoulder) as the players not taking the game seriously, and not giving the paying fans what they wanted.
Because of this, you decided that the winner of the All-Star Game would have home-field advantage in the World Series.
I understand that you want the players to always be giving 100 percent on the field at all times, but how can you justify an exhibition game determining home-field advantage?
I have an idea.
How about the winner of the home run derby gets his total number of home runs added to his season total? It's essentially the same idea, having an exhibition contest hold weight during the regular season.
Sir, I see the All-Star Game as my chance to watch the greatest players in the world enjoy themselves on the field. Remember the game in 2001 when Alex Rodriguez made Cal Ripken, Jr. move over to shortstop during the first inning?
Those are the moments I love to see. Players out on the field, joking around with each other like they are little kids playing a sandlot game.
Now, Bud, I know that you have taken quite a bit of flack from the national media over your decision to let the blown Armando Galarraga call stand. I would really like to hear you talk a little more about your decision.
You mentioned that it would "affect the integrity of the game" if you overturned that call. It is stated in the Major League Baseball rule book that you have the ability to overturn any call you see fit, and that you have the utmost authority when it comes to making decisions.
Now Allan, they wouldn't put that in the rule book if the makers didn't believe that there would ever be a reason for this rule to be enacted.
Fay Vincent, the former commissioner who you know very well, took matters into his own hands when looking back into the record books. In 1991, he decided to throw out 50 no-hitters for various reasons.
He changed the lives of 50 different men with his calls. Yes, it's true that none of these calls involved overturning an umpire's decision. But, then again, he did not have indisputable video evidence or any of the umpires making those calls coming right out and admitting that he blew the call.
The one good thing that you have had come out of this situation, Bud, is that both Galarraga and umpire Jim Joyce have handled this better than anyone in the world could have imagined. While it's tough for a parent to explain why this perfect game was not so perfect, they can still point to the way that these two gentlemen acted as the way to go about life.
Don't get me wrong, Bud. I feel that you have done some very good things in your time as baseball's commissioner as well. The advent of inter-league play and the wild card are two facets I believe really add to the excitement of baseball, and are overall improvements for the fans.
However, the way you have handled some very important situations in past years have not been done with the interest of the sport in mind.
Officially, you have been the commissioner for 13 years, and you spent another six years as the acting commissioner. Behind Kenesaw Mountain Landis's 24 years in office, no one else has held this position longer than you have.
If you truly love this sport like you repeatedly say you do, I believe that you would step aside and let someone else have a chance at righting America's pastime.
All the best,
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