Sam

Posts Tagged ‘Bud Selig’

Enough is not enough

In Uncategorized on December 10, 2011 at 6:23 pm

I was pleased to see that newly crowned NL MVP, Ryan Braun, has tested positive for PEDs. I can think of nothing more embarrassing to Major League Baseball and Bud Selig. Braun is one of the sports premier sluggers and his role on a resurgent Milwaukee Brewers team was one of the feel-good stories of the year. Not since the days of Gorman Thomas and Cecil Cooper has Milwaukee rallied around a team and two sluggers like it did this year around the Brewers, Cecil Fielder and Ryan Braun. That Braun won the MVP award came as something of a surprise to some people but I don’t think anyone said he didn’t deserve it.

Well, he obviously did not.

The revelation that Braun tested positive for PEDS comes on the heels of the news that Major League Baseball is going to reinstate Manny Ramirez and cut his suspension for drug use in half from 100 to 50 games. Ramirez has been caught cheating multiple times and you would think that the Commissioners’ office – if it was truly committed to cleaning up the sport and sending a message to people, players and fans alike – would say “enough” and put Ramirez on the ineligible list, as it did once with Pete Rose. But baseball recognizes that Ramirez is still a big draw so drug use or not they welcome him back and they are even making it easier for him return. All this says, at least to me, is that MLB cares very little about restoring integrity to the game.

Until we have someone in the Commissioners office who is committed to a clean sport and who is willing to issue lifetime bans for repeated drug use – even if this means a confrontation with the MLB Players Association and a lengthy strike – then the problem will not get any better, Every exemplary performance on the field, such as we saw this year when Albert Pujols hit 3 hrs in a World Series game, will be subject to suspicion. Was it real ?

Probably not.

I wonder what Bowie Kuhn would think of all this ?

Advertisements

The All-Star game

In Uncategorized on July 7, 2011 at 5:17 am

As baseball gets ready for the All-Star game, I have seen a few articles lately bemoaning the demise of the “mid-summer classic.” Last year, for example, the game had its lowest ratings ever after a steady decline over the years. In fact no one seems to get excited about the All-Star game anymore. I certainly don’t. I usually watch an inning or two at most. But that is out of sheer habit. After all, I have been watching the All-Star game since 1970.

The All-Star game used to be a game we looked forward to from the first day of the season. It was an exhibition game featuring the games greatest players and average players who were having great years. Willie Mays appeared in 24 all-star games. Billy Grabarkewitz, one. Exhibition notwithstanding the teams played hard to win and there was a noticeable absence of fraternizing between players during the game. There were no frivolous events like Home Run Derby with gold balls or a celebrity softball game. It was an exhibition baseball game pure and simple. But one of the highest quality.

Nowadays the All-Star game has a decidedly carnival like atmosphere, in part because of events like Home Run Derby. The game itself is played with nonchalance. Players from opposing sides intermingle good-naturedly and even exchange high-fives after good plays. But this is understandable when everyone on the field is privileged and a millionaire.

Yes, this may be why we have lost interest in the All-Star game and, some would argue, with baseball in general: because the All-Star game showcases the vast gap that now exists in America between elite athletes and the average citizen. Where we once could relate to a perennial All-Star like Stan Musial, who mowed his own lawn and left his number in the St. Louis telephone directory, we simply can no longer relate to players who are so far removed from ourselves.

So once again this year I will watch an inning at most. Or maybe not watch at all.

Post 3-11 Sports purist

In Uncategorized on April 25, 2011 at 5:29 am

It has been awhile since I have written anything. Living here in Tokyo we endured the earthquake of March 11 ( what is now being referred to here as ‘3-11″ ) and have been collectively paralyzed by everything that followed, most notably Fukushima. But life is slowly getting back to normal here: the trains are packed during the morning commute; the spate of post-disaster TV news programs, some of them very good, have given way to the insipid variety programs that define Japanese TV; people are thinking about foreign travel, hot springs and food again. So when I received an email the other day from a friend bemoaning Bud Selig’s plan to expand the playoffs I realized it was time for the Sports Purist to get back to “normal” too.

Since the season opened, there has been a lot to opine about including the Barry Bonds trial, the brutal beating of a fan outside Dodger Stadium , Manny Ramirez’s very un-graceful “retirement.” But let’s start with Bud Selig.

I have never understood Bud Selig. Selig has always been a self-professed baseball fan, frequently talking about his love for those great Milwaukee Braves teams of the late 1950s while a kid growing up in Milwaukee. He has been a lifelong friend of Henry Aaron which means that he can’t be all that bad. Or at least you would think. Yet Selig has done more to ruin the game during his tenure than any commissioner before him. Under Selig we have seen:

– Inter-league play which deprives the World Series of considerable mystique.
– World Series games frequently played into late October, early November.
– Rampant drug use.
– A gimmicky winner-takes-all format for the all-star game.
– A tie in an all-star game.
– Hallowed baseball records broken by ball players on steroids.
– Two Red Sox World Series championships ( right there that tells you that something is out of kilter)
– A disastrous players strike in 1994, until the strike one of baseballs most exciting seasons ever.
– Regular season games played on foreign soil including an “opening day” in Tokyo
– An astronomical rise in players salaries and ticket prices so that the demographic in any major league park nowadays is decidedly white and middle class ( Dodger Stadium is not a ballpark. It is a drug-infested neighborhood).

Anyway, I can do without Bud Selig. Even if he is a friend of Henry Aaron’s.