If you're a true baseball fan, Commissioner of Baseball Bud Selig has been a royal pain in the butt. For many years. He will always be remembered as commissioner on whose watch the whole so-called "steroid era" happened. We're talking pretty much 15 years, from the early 1990s to about 2005. And the steroid era happened because Bud Selig and the rest of the fat cat team owners (Selig was the owner of the Milwaukee Brewers before he got the commissioner's job) turned a blind eye to rampant PED abuse in the major leagues. Major league baseball did not have effective drug testing until a few years ago. All because Selig let it happen. So now we're stuck with a host of records in the books that are bogus. And some of the biggest names in the sport have had their reputation sullied forever. Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Alex Rodriguez, Raphael Palmeiro, and the list goes on and on.
The man is supposed to be retiring next year, not near soon enough for me. But before he goes, he naturally is going to screw the game up some more. I read today that in all likelihood next year the baseball playoffs will expand from eight teams to 12 teams. I cannot think of anything more horrendous then admitting to the playoffs yet more teams who did not win their division title. Making baseball more like the National Hockey League or the NBA where half the frigging league gets into the playoffs is not my idea of making major league baseball better. I'm hard pressed to think of anything that Selig has made better. The list of sins that Selig is perpetrated on the game is almost endless: interleague play, All-Star game determining home-field advantage in the World Series, allowing a tie in the All-Star game in 2002, introduction of wild card teams into the post-season playoffs.
The game I remember from my youth is still the same between the lines, but it's turned monstrous in many ways outside the lines. Stone traditionalist that I am, I have no use for just about any innovation since 1970 or so. That would include the designated hitter, exploding scoreboards, team mascots, bazillion dollar contracts for baseball players, work stoppages and strikes, artificial turf, pitch counts and absurd specialization of baseball bullpens, interleague play, wild-card teams, and is probably more that I can't think of right now.
Oh, no. Bud Selig cannot leave the game near soon enough for me. I contemplate with utter horror What I've read about what's likely to happen: that Selig will be elected to the Hall of Fame. That would be the final straw.
Update I: Ken Baxter in the LA Times on why expanding the baseball playoffs is a bad idea. Here.