January 10, 2002
In whose best interest?

Well, well. Seems Bud Selig may have violated baseball's rules by accepting a loan from Minnesota Twins owner/tightwad Carl Pohlad. The fact that Pohlad stands to make $250 million from the proposed contraction of a team that is both profitable and likely to challenge for the division title this year as they did last year is a mere coincidence.

This is precisely the problem with having an owner be the commissioner. Never mind the fact that he has no credibility with the players (or the public in the post-contraction shenanigans), it's an inherent conflict of interest. Ask yourself this question: Would Bart Giamatti have gone forward with that stoopid contraction scheme? Peter Ueberroth? Fay Vincent? Hell, even Bowie Kuhn was smarter than that, and he's got more integrity in his big toe than the entire Selig family does to boot.

The commissioner of baseball serves at the pleasure of the owners, as Fay Vincent discovered. That's how Selig, who was initially installed as an interim commish, got there in the first place - the owners were tired of paying someone who didn't jump through their hoops, so they gave the office to one of their own. He's a puppet and a farce and the worst thing to happen to baseball in a long time.

Rep. John Conyers was right to call for Selig's resignation. He's backed off a bit, but still thinks Selig should step aside until things can be clarified. Rep. Conyers, you were right the first time. Keep at it.

I should note that Ray Ratto sees it differently. I think we both agree on what kind of commissioner baseball needs, though:

Selig's resignation may be an intriguing notion to some, but he is still an employee rather than an emperor. If he is someday to be replaced, it should be not by another guy with a daughter who can run the store while Dad's away, but by someone who is paid by both the owners and players, who has a sufficiently long and lucrative contract and a sizable enough buyout to give him (or her) freedom of action to lead baseball with a clear, understandable, fully beneficial vision.

In other words, a kind of commissioner baseball has never had.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 10, 2002 to Baseball | TrackBack