Nov 8, 2010, 1:24 PM EDT
A letter Bud Selig recently wrote is making the rounds this morning. Why? Because in it he says “I really believe that Abner Doubleday is the ‘Father of Baseball,'” and makes reference to “some historians who would dispute this though.” You can see a copy of it over at Deadspin.
Of course, the story of Abner Doubleday creating baseball has been conclusively proven to be hogwash. It was a finding by a committee that was tasked by one A.G. Spalding to find that very thing in the early 20th Century. See, it had become known that baseball was really just an evolution of any number of British sports such as cricket, rounders and bat and trap, and in those heady, jingoistic days, it just would not do to have our National Pastime be the bastard child of a bunch of limey schoolyard games. Better to create a story in which a Civil War general created it in a pastoral setting rather than to have had it develop over several messy decades among filthy Irishman kicking around New York City slums.
You’d figure Bud would know that. But then again, you’d figure that he’d realize that eight playoff teams were enough by now too. Or that maybe the umpires could use some help on close calls. Or that it doesn’t take two years for a committee of experts to figure out if it’s better for the Athletics to play in their empty, awful stadium in Oakland or to move into a nice post one in San Jose.
But really, I don’t think Selig is that dense. He can’t be to have gotten where he’s gotten in life. The fact is, he’s a politician. He’s someone who would do anything to avoid taking a definitive stance on an issue when someone — say, someone who wrote him a letter and whose own feelings on a matter are less than clear — asked him to. Because the last thing he’d want to do is to upset someone.
And, as is usually the case, his efforts to avoid upsetting someone have upset everyone.
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