Bud Selig believes baseball needs more instant replay and less champagne

Bud Selig would like to see some changes in his game in 2013, one of which I imagine will be well-received while the other will result in him being called a Scrooge. For starters, Selig wants expanded instant replay. He made that clear during a recent Q & A with Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.

“I think we’ll have it for sure,” he said when asked about instant replay. “They’re working on cameras in all the ballparks. We need the right cameras. Should we have them by next year? We’d better.”

If the man in charge says we are probably going to see instant replay next season, it’s probably safe to assume it’s coming. What makes Selig’s comments particularly interesting is that it was only a few months ago that he said baseball didn’t need expanded replay because attendance numbers were fine. Perhaps he now realizes that was a dumb thing to say, or maybe he knows horrible calls like this one shouldn’t be affecting the outcome of playoff games.

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Bud Selig says MLB doesn’t need expanded replay because attendance is good

Typically there are two schools of thought regarding expanded replay in baseball. One one side, you have people like the LBS crew who believe Major League Baseball needs to take advantage of the available technology to prevent horrible calls like this one from affecting the outcome of games or rewriting the history books. On the other side, you have people like Jim Leyland who cherish the all-important human element of the game and are against replay.

Then, there’s Bud Selig. Here is what the commissioner had to say about expanded instant replay on Monday according to John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle:

“People in our sport don’t want any more. Given our attendance and everything we’re doing, we’re in the right place with instant replay.”

That statement is absurd on so many levels. For starters, how do the attendance numbers have anything to do with whether or not the game needs instant replay? Attendance is up across baseball this season, but are we supposed to believe that spike is due in part to the fact that the “human element” is still fully intact? In addition, a rule change in the game shouldn’t have anything to do with attendance. Selig is basically saying that whether the lack of replay is wrong or not, enough people are still coming to games so it doesn’t matter.

We know Selig is an old timer who wants nothing to do with instant replay, but this is officially the worst line of reasoning we’ve ever heard on the topic. If a bridge is unsafe but plenty of people still drive across it, I suppose the bridge doesn’t need to be repaired.

H/T Hardball Talk
Photo credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Bud Selig and MLB Take Over Dodgers from Frank McCourt, Seven Years Too Late

MLB commissioner Bud Selig finally determined something Wednesday he should have known seven years ago: Frank McCourt is not a suitable owner and operator of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The stunning announcement was made that MLB would take over the business and day-to-day operations of the historic franchise and appoint a trustee to run things.

Here is the official statement from Bud Selig:

“Pursuant to my authority as Commissioner, I informed Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt today that I will appoint a representative to oversee all aspects of the business and the day-to-day operations of the Club. I have taken this action because of my deep concerns regarding the finances and operations of the Dodgers and to protect the best interests of the Club, its great fans and all of Major League Baseball. My office will continue its thorough investigation into the operations and finances of the Dodgers and related entities during the period of Mr. McCourt’s ownership. I will announce the name of my representative in the next several days. The Dodgers have been one of the most prestigious franchises in all of sports, and we owe it to their legion of loyal fans to ensure that this club is being operated properly now and will be guided appropriately in the future.”

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Bud Selig: MLB Is Considering Adding Playoff Teams, Additional Wild Cards

Commissioner Bud Selig was on hand for the opening of Target Field in Minnesota Monday where the Twins hosted the Red Sox. He spent some time in ESPN’s broadcast booth to talk about many of the issues facing the game. Selig discussed the League’s drug testing policy, MLB’s efforts to get more African-Americans playing the game, the plight of small market teams, and the issue of playing the World Series in November, amongst others. I could do a separate post on each issue in baseball but I’ll stick to the possibility of MLB expanding the playoffs for this one. Here’s how the conversation went between play-by-play man Dan Schulman and commissioner Bud Selig in the bottom of the second inning:

Schulman: “Do you see any change in the playoff format? Do you ever see another Wild Card team?”

Selig: “Well, I remember all the abuse I took about the Wild Card to begin with and now everybody wants more. I would like to see more. You know we only have eight out of 30 — the least number of any sport — we have the most direct playoff system. It’s something we’re going to consider. In some ways I like it, in some ways I don’t. It’s very attractive.”

Mr. Selig, for all the complaints I have about baseball (the W.S. ending in November, the strong correlation between high payroll and long-term success, instant replay), the playoffs is where baseball has it almost perfect. I am a champion and proponent of systems that highly reward strong play during the regular season as MLB’s currently does. Four teams out of 16 in each league works perfectly for me. Just having the Wild Card in addition to division races means many teams are still involved in a playoff race the entire season and that keeps fan excitement up. The only playoff change I would want is expanding the Divisional Series to best of seven, not five. I hope that will be addressed in the upcoming collective bargaining negotiations. But please, please, please don’t expand the amount of Wild Cards — the playoff system is excellent as is.

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Glad to See Bud Selig Is Keeping Up with the Instant Replay Times

Outside of the brilliant pitching of Cliff Lee and CC Sabathia (add Rivera to the list?), the biggest topic of the MLB postseason has been the horrendous umpiring. Things started with Phil Cuzzi’s blown call on a Joe Mauer leadoff double against the Yankees in the ALDS. Then C.B. Bucknor blew a few calls in favor of the Angels against the Red Sox at first base in the ALDS. After that, the umps blew about three calls in Game 4 of the ALCS between the Yankees and Angels. Considering the egregious nature of these calls and the indisputable evidence from the instant replay we saw on TV, you figure the logical step would be to allow the umpires the opportunity to review their call when they make such a bad **** up. But not under Chief Selig’s watch:

“I’ve talked to a lot baseball people about this recently — that includes on the field and executives,” said Selig, explaining his position at length. “Believe me, they have a lot of trepidation about expanding it. [Angels manager] Mike Scioscia put it very well: The umpires get it right 99 percent of the time.

“Times change, but I’m still in favor of keeping the human element as a part of it, and I’m also very concerned about pace. I think there are other ways we can make corrections. During the offseason we’ll review everything. I’ve made my position clear, and by the way, I think it’s the position of most people in baseball. You have to be very careful when you tamper with a sport.”

Dude, we’re not saying get rid of the human element and have pitch tracker call balls and strikes, we’re just saying take the freaking five minutes to let the umpires see how badly they effed up with the Joe Mauer call or when Mike Napoli tagged out both Yankees at third base. That would go a long way towards preserving the purity of the game. Wait a sec, did I say purity? This is Selig we’re talking about. Why would I expect anything different? Still, MLB has to do something to correct this issue.

Bud Selig Considering Reinstating Pete Rose in MLB?

In the same weekend that Hank Aaron said steroids cheaters belonged in the Hall of Fame so long as their records include asterisks, the former home run king also campaigned for the reinstatement of the hit king, Pete Rose. From USA Today:

“I would certainly like to see him in,” Aaron said. “He belongs in, really. His career is one that he needs to be right here in the middle of all of this.”

“The Pete Rose thing is different than steroids,” Aaron said. “If I had been Pete, I think I would have asked for forgiveness many, many years ago.”

I’ve maintained that the steroids cheaters belong in Cooperstown because they’re a big part of the history of the game, but that they don’t belong in the Hall of Fame because they lack good character and integrity. Pete Rose, who bet on games as a manager, belongs in the same proposed wing as the cheaters. But with the support of Hank Aaron, Joe Morgan, and Frank Robinson, it appears as if Bud Selig is considering lifting the lifetime ban on Pete Rose making him eligible for the Hall by the veteran’s committee. According to the New York Daily News, “Selig’s conditions for any reinstatement would be stiff. Rose likely would need to make another public apology and he would be prohibited from managing.”

I see two solutions to the issue: either Cooperstown needs to get rid of their character and integrity clause from the voting criteria and just judge players based on performance, or the cheaters need a separate, not equal, home. By the way, what’s more perfect for lazy talk show hosts during the slow days of summer than rehashing the Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame argument? Here’s the perfect impetus!

MLB Strikes Out Running Opening Day Opposite National Championship Game

My freaking head was spinning on Monday because there was so much to do. There was the NCAA title game to prepare for, not to mention countless Opening Day games in baseball. ESPN had wall-to-wall coverage, televising a handful of these events. It was quite pleasing to see that many baseball games on TV without even needing the Extra Innings package. Even though this sounds all great and wonderful, there were some issues. Here’s one: the last game of the night on ESPN’s lineup was the A’s and Angels. Being a pretty hard-core Angels fan who watches most of their games, I typically would be stoked for Opening Day. Major problem — the game started at 6pm PT and ran opposite the title game. Even though the championship game was basically over in the first five minutes, it was still pretty difficult to turn off. Additionally, there were no NBA games played on Monday night. Even The Association is wise enough to concede the night to college hoops, realizing the title game grabs the attention of most basketball fans.

Someone please explain to me why MLB just didn’t wait until Tuesday to kick off the season. Do they really like having the first game of the season get pushed to the second page in every local newspaper because of North Carolina? Do they not have more common sense than this? As if scheduling opening day opposite the championship game weren’t enough, MLB leaves you with another list of mind-boggling questions. For instance, what is baseball still doing scheduling games to be played in cities like Boston, Chicago, and Cincinnati at the beginning of April where they get snowed and rained out? Why wouldn’t you have the first two weeks of the season be played either in the South, on the West Coast, or indoors? And while we’re on the subject, the season should start two weeks later than it does and end two weeks earlier. The World Series in November? Are you kidding me? I sure hope Bud Selig is reading this. To think he gets paid multi-millions to make these bonehead decisions. My goodness.