Skip to content

Is Bud Selig really prepared to act so decisively?

Jun 5, 2013, 6:06 PM EDT

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

I’ll end my portion of the day with a Deep Thought of sorts. More of a pondering without a huge point. Just an observation and a musing. That musing: is Bud Selig really prepared to pull the trigger and suspend scores of players, some of them among the biggest names in the game?

This is not a musing borne of sharp skepticism, really. I certainly have my opinions — strong ones — about what Major League Baseball should or shouldn’t do. But I don’t have a strong view on what they will do. There’s just to much unknown right now to determine whether they act or they don’t, whether any suspensions they offer will take or they won’t.  We just don’t know.

But I have been watching Bud Selig for my entire adult life, and one thing that sort of puzzles me right now is how Bud Selig — late period Bud Selig — could act so decisively in an arena where he is bound to get a fight from the union.

If anything has characterized the latter years of Bud Selig’s reign it is his mastery of consensus. You may disagree with some things he has done as Commissioner, but tell me: what was the last thing he actually did where he had to engage in a public fight to do it? Dating back to the 1994-95 strike, I can’t think of one. He is a consensus-builder. He is a planner. He has not had an owners revolt of any kind in years. When someone wants into the club, he gets in. When Bud wants someone out, he’s kicked out. When new initiatives are launched they are launched with unanimous or near-unanimous consent of the owners and the suits in the league office and, increasingly in recent years, the union.  It may be tough going behind the scenes — I imagine Selig has twisted arms and called in favors like nobody’s business over the years — but when something finally gets done, it’s decided and it’s not controversial among the people who could make his life miserable over it (fans don’t always count, naturally).

So I look at the potential for Selig to suspend a zillion players, and the near-certainty that it will lead to a serious, hard core fight from the union, and it doesn’t add up.  Yes, Selig may want to protect his legacy as Major League Baseball’s Commissioner. But Selig’s legacy is not of a drug-free game. Far from it. It’s from operating the gears of the business like a well-oiled machine and never, ever, getting truly thrown into the mud.  Selig is a man who doesn’t like to look feckless or ridiculous. The last time he looked that way was that tied All-Star Game. He made damn sure THAT wasn’t going to happen again. And he did so by getting a silly rule passed about the All-Star Game counting. With very little opposition. That’s how he rolls.

We learned today that the suspensions are not nearly as imminent as ESPN’s report last night made them out to be. There is a timeline — all of June, really — during which baseball is going to assess its evidence and see what it has. And then, maybe, they’ll go after the players.  I can’t help but think that the ESPN report revealed an internal debate among baseball officials about how to act. On the one side some folks who would like to fire a missile at Ryan Braun and Alex Rodriguez and on the other some of the more Selig-like folk who, to quote a line about the Russians from “The Hunt For Red October” don’t take a dump without a plan.  And given how compromised Anthony Bosch is and how big the fight back from the players would be if suspensions were issued based on his word, suspending 20 or more guys at once is not much of a plan.

Maybe the pro-suspension forces are losing the debate and they got mad and leaked the discussions to ESPN? Maybe baseball really doesn’t know what to do and decided to float this out there to see how it is received? I really have no idea. But I am going to have to have someone explain to me why, after all of these years and after every minefield Bud Selig has successfully navigated, he would choose now to court such potential ugliness and uncertainty.

Bud Selig doesn’t fire before he aims. He fires after the condemned prisoner is standing six inches from him, bound at the wrists and well-aware of how sealed his fate truly is. We don’t have that situation with the Biogenesis stuff right now. And the fact that Selig may be willing to fire anyway is fascinating to me.

Latest Posts
  1. The Braves are trying to trade Alberto Callaspo

    May 25, 2015, 11:31 PM EDT

    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 23:  Alberto Callaspo #1 of the Atlanta Braves walks back to the dugout after striking out in the eighth inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field on April 23, 2015 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) Getty Images

    After signing a one-year, $3 million deal with the Braves, Callaspo is batting just .206 with one home run and a .545 OPS over 123 plate appearances this season.

  2. Travis d’Arnaud on track to rejoin Mets next week

    May 25, 2015, 10:19 PM EDT

    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 26: Travis d'Arnaud #7 of the New York Mets looks on from the bench priro to the start of the game against the New York Yankees  on April 26, 2015  at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) Getty Images

    D’Arnaud has been sidelined since April 19 due to a fractured right pinkie finger.

  3. Video: Giancarlo Stanton makes a leaping catch to rob Josh Harrison of extra bases

    May 25, 2015, 9:18 PM EDT

    PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 25:  Giancarlo Stanton #27 of the Miami Marlins catches the third out in the second inning during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on May 25, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) Getty Images

    We usually post videos of Giancarlo Stanton hitting long home runs because he has a penchant for doing that on a regular basis and it’s a lot of fun to marvel over them. However, he can also get it done with the glove.

  4. Jose Bautista receives cortisone shot in ailing shoulder

    May 25, 2015, 8:14 PM EDT

    BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 13:  Jose Bautista #19 of the Toronto Blue Jays bats against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on May 13, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista hasn’t been able to play in the field since April 21 due a nagging shoulder injury, but he hopes to change that soon.

  5. Video: Khris Davis has home run taken away before getting it back

    May 25, 2015, 7:05 PM EDT

    MILWAUKEE, WI - MAY 25: Khris Davis #18 of the Milwaukee Brewers runs the bases after hitting a solo home run in the third inning agains the San Francisco Giants at Miller Park on May 25, 2015 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)  *** Local Caption *** Khris Davis Getty Images

    Brewers outfielder Khris Davis hit two home runs today against the Giants, but he nearly had one of them taken away for not touching home plate.

  6. Wily Peralta out at least four weeks with oblique strain

    May 25, 2015, 6:09 PM EDT

    NEW YORK, NY - MAY 17:  Wily Peralta #38 of the Milwaukee Brewers pitches against the New York Mets during their game at Citi Field on May 17, 2015 in New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Brewers manager Craig Counsell said today that right-hander Wily Peralta will miss at least four weeks with an oblique strain.

  7. Great Moments in Memorial Day Tributes

    May 25, 2015, 5:00 PM EDT

    American Flag

    When I think solemn remembrance of the military dead, I definitely think John Kruk and Curt Schilling in weird jerseys.

  8. Another potential cable deal could mean more Dodgers games on TV in southern California soon

    May 25, 2015, 4:00 PM EDT

    dodgers logo

    Dodgers fans have been through this before, but hope is hope.

  9. Broken finger sends James Loney to Rays’ disabled list

    May 25, 2015, 3:55 PM EDT

    james loney getty Getty Images

    Loney was hitting .275 with two homers and a .698 OPS in 30 games.

  10. John Farrell calls for an approved substance pitchers can use for a better grip

    May 25, 2015, 3:30 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    He thinks it’s silly that guys are risking 8-10 game suspensions for doing something everyone does and everyone thinks is sensible.

  11. Travis Ishikawa designated for assignment by the Giants

    May 25, 2015, 3:15 PM EDT

    travis ishikawa getty Getty Images

    Ishikawa started (out of position in left field) for the Giants during last year’s World Series-winning playoff run.

  12. A’s closer Sean Doolittle is ready to make his season debut

    May 25, 2015, 2:10 PM EDT

    Sean Doolittle AP

    Doolittle is coming back from a partially torn rotator cuff.

  13. Josh Hamilton is starting in left field and batting fifth for the Rangers today

    May 25, 2015, 1:47 PM EDT

    Josh Hamilton AP

    Last time he started in left field and batted fifth for the Rangers? July 27, 2010.

  14. Ben Zobrist rejoins the A’s a month after knee surgery

    May 25, 2015, 1:15 PM EDT

    Oakland Athletics v Houston Astros Getty Images

    It might be too little too late for the A’s considering their 16-30 record.

  15. Mike Napoli continues to kill the Angels

    May 25, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

    Mike Napoli

    Mike Scioscia ran Mike Napoli out of Anaheim. Napoli has beaten the hell out of the Angels ever since.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. J. Hamilton (4120)
  2. R. Castillo (3711)
  3. D. Travis (3481)
  4. Y. Puig (3288)
  5. J. Reyes (3228)
  1. D. Wright (3228)
  2. A. Pujols (3193)
  3. C. Crisp (3189)
  4. B. Harper (3109)
  5. J. Lucroy (3090)