The awarding of another, (third time is the charm), franchise to Washington, steroids, the All Star game and November baseball. Let’s continue where we left off last time. Ad naseum, intellectual Latin for: It makes me sick to my stomach. More or less.
I touched briefly on the subject of the rape of the Montreal Expos last week. The story continues with the awarding of this franchise to Washington, D.C. Once again we have a conflict of interest situation. The owner of the Washington Nationals and the commissioner of baseball, Bud Selig are close personal and business friends. Washington had previously been awarded two franchises, both of which eventually moved to other cities. Both moves were precipitated by a lack of fan interest in the team. This was the excuse given by baseball for the closing down of the Montreal Expos franchise.
The search began for a location which promised intense fan interest and a successful and vibrant new beginning. Other potential markets were “discussed” and then dismissed as not viable. The choice came down to, (the only one really considered), and the manipulation began. The usual press propaganda was released and suddenly, Washington, despite its previous failures, was chosen as the most likely site. Money was quickly raised for the building of a new stadium and the search for a name to hide the past failures behind the senators was decided upon. Somehow, the owner of the Baltimore Orioles, a man known for stubbornly holding his ground and a fierce defender of his territorial rights, was persuaded to waive those concerns and sign on the dotted line. Friends in high places indeed.
Steroids has once again raised its unwanted head with the release of a report that Ryan Braun has tested positive. The tireless efforts of the commissioner’s office to ignore this cheating and the “oh, that was in the past, unfortunate but can’t we all just forget about it” propaganda is self serving and dishonest to say the least. The so called standards which have been apparently put in place were quickly put aside with the news that Manny Ramirez will be allowed to reenter Major League Baseball and, despite having been caught twice, would serve only a 50-game suspension, the penalty for a first-time offender. Allowing Mark McGwire to be hired on by St. Louis as a coach sends the wrong message as well. A policy can’t be a policy when enforced depending on which way the wind is blowing on that particular day. It’s either wrong, or it isn’t. The current chest puffing on HGH testing is also unwarranted. I’m sorry that I got caught, not that I did something less than above board.
The All Star game was changed from a pleasant and fun mid-season exhibition to a game which could decide the World Series the next season. This almost relegated a back seat afterthought to the World Series by what used to be and should be a pleasant midsummer diversion. This idea is quite simply, the wrong approach. This was done to divert attention from and to speed the end of memory of the Bud Selig-inspired tie game during the 2002 game. Of course, this solution and the 2002 game show the incompetence of the commissioner more than his corruption. This wasn’t the end of the All-Star fiasco either. I’m in favor of fan voting, but allowing up to 25 votes per fan seems more akin to the elections in several third world countries. It grossly inflates the actual numbers of fans who vote. Instead of making glorified claims as to the popularity of the sport, it would be much better served to let actual numbers reflect as to the relative health of the game and get a much clearer and viable indication of what needs to be done.
In 2010, we were treated to November baseball. This could also be named, let’s ensure that the New York Yankees, TV’s biggest market, at the pleading of Fox Sports, make it to the World Series. Never before had I witnessed off day which were not travel days. But theses off days, non travel days, would help a team which had only two viable starting pitchers not have to dip into the rest of the rotation which was certainly not playoff worthy. Apparently, baseball feels that it needs the Yankees and/or RedSox in the finals every season. TV money speaks far louder than the so called competitive equality which Selig boasts about each season. It was only his bad luck which has seen different champions for the past several seasons. November baseball is flirting with disaster, (see 2008 Tampa Bay-Philadelphia). Baseball shouldn’t be played in November. Check the history of weather patterns throughout the years.
The list goes on and on but enough already. At least that’s what the commissioner’s office would prefer.