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Bud Selig: we don’t need replay. Just look at our attendance!

Jul 2, 2012, 5:15 PM EDT

MLB Commissioner Bud Selig speaks during a news conference in New York Reuters

Bud Selig spoke with the media this afternoon. John Shea reposted one of the Commissioner’s answers about expanding instant replay:

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.

We’ve heard Selig erroneously claim that no one wants instant replay a million times — of course people in the game want it or else they wouldn’t have included an explicit provision about it in the latest collective bargaining agreement — but this new twist is too much. Attendance shows that people are fine with instant replay? Really? As if increased attendance has anything to do with it?

It’s nonsensical, as there is no relation — or at least there should be no relation — between the public’s willingness to purchase tickets and the Commissioner’s decision to make technical improvements to the game. As a response to the specific question and as a piece of logic. it’s simply incoherent.

And now that I think about it, it’s less about an answer that makes no sense as much as it is an answer that gives away Selig’s hand: no single innovation that baseball truly takes seriously is about improving the game. It’s all about the bottom line. “Who cares if we can improve the product? People are still buying tickets!”

It’s a horribly complacent position to take.  But hey, as long as a problem in the game doesn’t hurt revenue, who cares? As long as an improvement doesn’t increase revenue, why bother?  That’s what Selig is saying here.  Find me an example in American business history where such thinking didn’t lead an industry to ruin.

  1. chumthumper - Jul 3, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    Craig, I absolutely agree. Selig and the owners only do what enhances their bottom line. That’s why we have wild card games and soon, more undeserving teams qualifying. One of these days, the World Series will be broken into pre-Christmas and post-New Years games. And it doesn’t matter how many season games you win, home field advantage is determined by an exhibition game. Another sad point, is one day this bozo will be given a bust in the HOF as the greatest thing since sliced bread..

  2. kp20520 - Jul 3, 2012 at 3:34 PM

    Do it like the NHL. Home base in Toronto makes the calls. Have a team of experts sit in front of 60″ top of the line tv. Quick, accurate and doesn’t slow the game down.

  3. anxovies - Jul 4, 2012 at 12:10 PM

    I really hate to find myself on the side of the likes of Bud Selig, but even a blind pig sometimes finds an acorn. One of the attractions of baseball is its human scale. In football the experience is much different than baseball, you don’t need to be close to the field to enjoy the game. In fact, being close to the sidelines in football is not necessarily the best place to watch the game, that’s why the cameras are placed high in the grandstands. In baseball a big part is being up close, even when watching it on TV. Even the cheapest bleacher seats gets you closer to the game and the players than football. Depending on TV replays to decide important moments in the game cheapens the unique human experience of the ballpark, Sometimes getting it right is not necessarily getting it better. I can’t believe I am agreeing with Selig on something.

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