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Mark Cuban has Bud Selig derangement syndrome

Aug 26, 2014, 5:35 PM EDT

Mark Cuban horizontal

Mark Cuban has tried to buy a major league team three times. He was probably squeezed out a couple of times. At least once — with the Rangers — he simply wasn’t willing to keep up with the bidding. Whatever the details are behind those efforts — and it’ll likely always be he-said, he-said — I don’t think it’s wrong to say that, to some degree, Mark Cuban got the shaft. A shaft that MLB could legally give him because of its ridiculous antitrust exemption, but the shaft all the same.

But at some point Cuban had to realize that if they don’t want him, he probably doesn’t want them either. You’d think he’d just wash his hands of baseball and its silliness when it comes to ownership matters. But that seems to not be the case. He’s still kind of mad! He went on the Dan Patrick show and the topic of Bud Selig came up:

“Was Bud Selig a bad commissioner?” Patrick asked.

“Horrible,” Cuban said. “Has the sport grown at all?”

Patrick said: “Regionally it has.”

Cuban continued: “The only growth it had was at the end of the ’90s and we know what happened there. He’s tried to act like a — I’ll tell you what really turned me off, other than the fact that he didn’t want me in. I had another owner who owned an NBA team walk up to me in an NBA meeting and say, ‘You have no chance. Don’t waste your time.’ What happened in the courtroom when I was looking at the Rangers and bankruptcy, it was ridiculous what they were trying to do. What’s worked for baseball, you know, other than steroids? And home run derbies because of it? You just can’t look at it and say this is a growth sport. You can’t say people enjoy it more.

Baseball revenue is up from $1.5 billion in 1995 to nearly $9 billion in 2013. Attendance has been at or near all-time highs for the past decade. Maybe one can measure baseball’s “growth” in ways other than revenue and attendance, but if you’re going to claim that Selig has been a horrible commissioner or that the sport has not grown at all, you had better come with some data, and not some generalized disdain for a guy who you don’t much like for personal reasons.

And they are personal reasons. Read the rest of Cuban’s comments about Selig. It’s all based on Cuban being mad about his experience with Selig and the idea that, according to Cuban, Selig reads everything written about him and thus Cuban wants to wind him up.

I don’t much care for the way MLB picks and chooses its owners. And I think baseball might’ve been a lot more fun with Mark Cuban as an owner than it has been without him. But you read this stuff and you can’t say that baseball’s keeping Cuban out is a very surprising.

  1. seitz26 - Aug 26, 2014 at 5:51 PM

    In other news, those grapes that Mark Cuban couldn’t quite reach were probably sour anyway.

  2. miguelcairo - Aug 26, 2014 at 5:52 PM

    Interesting piece. But needless to say, I’m happy to not see Cuban’s screaming face in MLB.

  3. pjmitch - Aug 26, 2014 at 5:53 PM

    Thank goodness Cuban is not a MLB owner. Like they/we need more drama??

  4. scoutsaysweitersisabust - Aug 26, 2014 at 6:04 PM

    Cuban would not be a particularly great MLB owner. He shoots his mouth off way too much for the rest of the league. He thinks he’s bigger than everyone else. It does not surprise me one bit they went out of their way to keep him out. And it’s MLB’s right to do so. The league is a club, and the owners are the ones holding the keys to the castle. Cuban is petty, arrogant, loud, and obnoxious. Sadly if he was an owner he would be far from the worst owner but that’s a topic for another day. He undoubtedly would be the loudest and ultimately his inability to shut up is what kept him out of baseball. And he’s only proving the league right with these type of interviews.

    • ltzep75 - Aug 26, 2014 at 6:20 PM

      so youre saying cuban is dangerfield and selig is like judge smails?

    • aboutamoo - Aug 27, 2014 at 8:48 AM

      I disagree about Cuban as an MLB owner. I would absolutely be okay with him owning my team (disclosure: Red Sox fan). I don’t care about his propensity for shooting his mouth off or any of that. I care about his willingness to spend money in pursuit of winning. That’s the #1 thing I’m looking for in an owner. Cuban has that in spades.

      Top of my head guess: at least 18 to 20 teams would be immediately improved with Cuban owning them.

    • tk41 - Aug 27, 2014 at 11:42 AM

      @Soutsays – So do you consider George Steinbrenner to have had a positive or negative impact on baseball? He, probably even more than Cuban, embodies all of the “negatives” that you listed above.
      Also, he has been a WONDERFUL owner in the NBA. He took over a moribund franchise (which baseball has a few of) and turned them into perennial contenders & eventual champs in a sport where it is much more difficult to ascend from bottom/top (only 6 teams won championships in last 15 years). Yes, he is loud, arrogant, etc… but so are a number of current NBA owners (Dan Gilbert, anyone…).

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Aug 27, 2014 at 11:51 AM

        Steinbrenner suffered from the same loud mouth syndrom and was chastised around baseball many times for it. He finally learned to shut his trap and suddenly public perception turned him into a sort of god. Cuban could learn a lesson from him. I’m not saying Cuban is a bad guy, or would even be bad for fans, but other owners don’t want him around because he won’t shut up. He’s run into trouble several times across the NBA for running his mouth. If he could just keep it closed, he’d be a fantastic owner. He’s passionate, intelligent, and obviously cares, he just needs a little less press is all.

  5. sumerduckman - Aug 26, 2014 at 6:07 PM

    “I’m sorry Mr. Cuban, but Mr.Selig says dat youse can’t come into da club.”

    ” Mr. Loria and Mr. McCourt, right dis way, youse table is ready!”

    • SocraticGadfly - Aug 26, 2014 at 7:26 PM

      Joke would be better without stereotypical black accents.

      • yahmule - Aug 26, 2014 at 8:35 PM

        I thought he was shooting for Italian.

      • stex52 - Aug 27, 2014 at 8:11 AM

        I think that’s Brooklyn he’s doing.

      • stlouis1baseball - Aug 27, 2014 at 1:41 PM

        “Stereotypical black accents?” See? This right here is what I have a problem with.
        The accents are NOT “stereotypical black accents.”
        Unless you are trying to find something that isn’t there.
        It is obvious he is going east coast with a splash of Italian.
        Wow Gadfly. Just…wow.

  6. SocraticGadfly - Aug 26, 2014 at 6:08 PM

    Cuban would make a fantastic MLB umpire, though.

  7. andreweac - Aug 26, 2014 at 7:08 PM

    The fact that kids under 15 or so nearly prefer soccer to baseball should be alarming. The revenue growth has nearly solely been due to regional TV contracts jacking up rates for anybody who has cable.

    The recent Dodger/Time Warner fiasco shows this growth may be maxed out. DirectTV hasn’t seen much, if any, subscriber loss this year in LA despite not carrying LA SportsNet. This should be very alarming for all MLB owners.

    • Ren - Aug 26, 2014 at 8:23 PM

      Youth participation is defenitely needed in Baseball, when these guys heads into college… Mostly it’s all about the major sports they’ll always pick and go. What’s tainted Baseball is money… And that’s probably the horrible truth of it’s decline there in the States.

    • clydeserra - Aug 27, 2014 at 12:46 AM

      Adult Americans will care about soccer when there is major league soccer here. with the top players in the world.

      (yes, I have heard of the MLS, its basically independent ball)

      • ewyorksockexchange - Aug 27, 2014 at 1:08 PM

        Seeing as MLS has been outdrawing both the NBA and NHL since 2012, I think it’s fair to say that adult Americans care about soccer.

    • stex52 - Aug 27, 2014 at 8:12 AM

      My mother’s generation was the one that was going to bring soccer to the U.S. My mother is 85 now. I will believe that soccer is the coming sport when it actually gets here.

  8. xmatt0926x - Aug 26, 2014 at 7:21 PM

    Ok, so Cuban can be an irrational loudmouth who sometimes shows too much emotion. Is that such a crime? It’s funny how people around here think sometimes. If anyone dare question a player who acts like a child or shows too much emotion on the field here or there, they are accused of not liking a player “just having some fun” and bringing some “personality” to a game with too many people who adhere to the old fashioned unwritten rules of the game.

    It seems to me that a guy like Cuban would bring just as much personality and fun to the game. I don’t get the Cuban hate at all. It’s doubtful that 99% of the people who always bash him here have any idea why they have an issue with him either, other than they know they are supposed to dislike him.

    • slappymcknucklepunch - Aug 26, 2014 at 11:20 PM

      Xmatt,I agree completely.

      The Glasses,Angelos,Mets ownership trust,And that pig loria need to be sacked.Cuban would be a major improvement on any of those teams.Can you imagine KC with Cubans checkbook?

  9. chiadam - Aug 26, 2014 at 7:56 PM

    Baseball has grown in spite of Selig, not because of him. We’re a country that loves sports, so it’s really going to take some effort to run one of the majors into the ground. For God’s sake, Gary Bettman managed to “grow” hockey, so pump the brakes on crediting commissioners because we like sports. The scenario is that Selig is a horrible commissioner and baseball has grown anyway.

    If the sole point is that Cuban is wrong to say baseball has not grown, then I agree. But Selig just happened to be the guy sitting in the chair when it happened.

    • Ren - Aug 26, 2014 at 8:31 PM

      If it weren’t for Selig, Baseball won’t be as popular as it is now worldwide… I became a Baseball fan cause of him and his creation of the WBC. Livin in a basketball country, I don’t even know what Baseball is till 2009. I don’t have any clue on what’s the current situation of Baseball there in the States… But one thing I know of… Is that Selig has done more for what’s the good of Baseball.

      • slappymcknucklepunch - Aug 26, 2014 at 11:29 PM

        Ren,I do believe you would have loved the Braves in the 90s,too bad you missed those years.
        They were awesome in the regular season,maybe not so much in the playoffs.Even now they have been a real good team for almost 20 years.A lot of fan bases would take that anyday.

        By the way,do you watch any NFL?

      • Ren - Aug 26, 2014 at 11:36 PM

        NFL? No, only Rugby. I have absolutely no knowledge on how the NFL is played.

      • slappymcknucklepunch - Aug 27, 2014 at 12:07 AM

        I tried watching Aussie rules a few times,I just do not understand the rules,plus the beatings they take with no pads makes me feel weak.

        The NFL is easier,basically don’t touch the Quarterback(thrower)or the receivers(catchers)after five yards.Any thing else is fair game in the scrum,biting,eyegouging,pinching.punching or anything else is quasi-legal if a Ref does not see it.Although I do believe the finger up the rectum that is popular in Rugby is probably disallowed.

        Unless your name is Richie Incognito.

  10. sportsfan18 - Aug 26, 2014 at 8:20 PM

    I’m a baseball fan before a basketball fan…

    I feel for things to improve, differing opinions need to be heard in meetings, in companies etc…

    Group think isn’t always the best.

    Those that run baseball have had a good old boy network for a long time.

    If Cuban did become an owner, he would have been frustrated a lot with them and they would have been frustrated with him a lot.

    But, sometimes a change agent is necessary.

    For all you younger folks, just read Bill Veeck’s Wikipedia page for a few highlights of what an original and outside the box thinker he was.

    I’m NOT saying Mark Cuban is in Mr. Veeck’s league, but Mark is closer to Mr. Veeck than the current owners who have as much life as card board cut outs of people.

    The game of baseball, as Craig likes to say, is NOT dying but the NFL certainly passed it up…

    My opinion/feeling is that baseball would have benefited by having Mark Cuban as an owner more than he would have hurt baseball. My biggest reason for saying that is that Mark would have had many checks on him as he would have been heavily outnumbered by the other owners so he couldn’t run amok that much.

    And how much could Mark hurt the game compared to the Wilpon’s and to Jeffrey Luria?

    And Bud Selig has HELPED the Wilpons and Luria over and over…

    • slappymcknucklepunch - Aug 26, 2014 at 11:32 PM

      Replied to a post up top saying something similar Sports,but as usual you expressed it better.I agree he would be a great wildcard.

  11. chill1184 - Aug 26, 2014 at 10:00 PM

    He would still be better owner than a few of the current ones

  12. xbam1 - Aug 26, 2014 at 10:22 PM

    i don’t give Bud credit for attendance and revenues being up…and no i dont have any facts to back it up….MLB would be doing just as good without him if he was never the commish imo…

    • slappymcknucklepunch - Aug 26, 2014 at 11:34 PM

      Well,that’s just like… your opinion man.

  13. scott7791 - Aug 26, 2014 at 11:35 PM

    “You’d think he’d just wash his hands of baseball and its silliness when it comes to ownership matters. But that seems to not be the case. He’s still kind of mad!” When mocking those who can’t let go of something deeply personal to them, Craig ought to make sure he’s not doing so from his glass house. For years, he has shown disdain for those who point out that baseball, in one way or another, is not where it used to be in our society. One of many examples of this occurred earlier this summer, when a sportswriter from the Philly Inquirer pointed out that the World Cup had generated an excitement from the American population that had been lacking in baseball of late. Craig basically tried to discredit the guy by pointing out his fairly innocuous mistake of referring to Jeffrey Loria’s team as the “Florida Marlins”. (The exact quote from Craig was “maybe we’re not dealing with a guy who knows a whole hell of a lot about anything” ) For what it’s worth, I love baseball and couldn’t even PRETEND to get caught up in all the soccer hype. In spite of that- or maybe even because of it- I also couldn’t pretend to ignore all the people who embraced soccer like a new love, while making comments about how baseball had “lost its luster”- and not just from the under-30 crowd, either- which is why Marc Cuban has a point, at the very least.

    Truth be told, revenue and “attendance”, contrary to what the biggest defenders of Major League Baseball (and, by extension, Bud Selig) would like to believe, don’t come close to telling the whole story. The revenue has been generated almost exclusively by a TV contract bubble that, incredibly for Selig, did not burst during his tenure. Manfred may not be so lucky, though, as the Dodgers’ debacle currently may be a sign that this absurdity is finally coming to an end. Even discounting the financial impact of these contracts, asset inflation is not exclusive to baseball, or even sports, as (in no particular order) tuition, stock prices, real estate, commodities etc. etc.. have gone through the roof over the same period that MLB’s revenues have.

    As for “attendance”, I put that in quotes because when it comes to talking about baseball’s health, it’s even shakier proof than the revenue gains. Craig wants some data? Ok, here’s some. I’m a Dodger season ticket holder, and unless it’s Friday night, Saturday night, a giveaway, or the Giants or Angels are in town, I usually can’t give my tickets away. (I list them for $7 each, including fees.) Yet baseball will happily count those unused tickets as “attendance”, which explains why the Dodgers will claim 38,000+, even on nights that the stadium is half empty. None of this is to say that the Dodgers don’t draw decent crowds- even large ones on occasion, particularly on weekends- but for a first place team that claims “the best attendance in baseball”, decent doesn’t really cut it, especially if this is supposed to be one of baseball’s STRONG points.

    Switching to Bud Selig specifically, to me, it’s refreshing to finally hear someone like Cuban speak out, while otherwise sensible people coronate the commissioner as he (finally!) heads for the exits. What exactly has he done that has earned him all this praise? His never-ending claims that “baseball has never been more popular” make him sound like a used car salesman, trying to convince a prospective buyer that this 1992 Buick “runs like new”. Baseball is certainly not “dying”, as some claim, but even those who believe in the “revenue and attendance” mantra to point out its strength, cannot entirely disregard the downtrends that point to its weaknesses. The average fan age has gone up, while the national audience has gone down. This is not ALL Selig’s fault, but a commissioner who constantly namedrops stars of yesteryear (“I was talking with Al Kaline the other day…”), instead of touting stars of today and tomorrow certainly doesn’t help, nor does turning the summer of Puig and Trout into the summer of Tony Bosch and A-Rod, as he did last season.

    Last but not least, when considering how Marc Cuban was stonewalled from owning a team, look at the types that HAVE been approved for ownership- Frank McCourt, buying the Dodgers on 3% down (?!) then subsequently bankrupting them, Jeffrey Loria, currently working on wrecking his second franchise, and Fred Wilpon- probably a bigger fan of the Dodgers than McCourt ever was- whose financial incompetence has forced him to run a New York team as though they played in Tulsa. Even if you aren’t sympathetic with Marc Cuban’s disgust, you should at least be able to understand where he’s coming from. I know I do.

    • slappymcknucklepunch - Aug 27, 2014 at 12:20 AM

      Well put.Just look at the commenters lately, they are from all over the world.

      Plus we have PFT people who are commenting on baseball in late August.Some are not even trolling.I find that IS growth for a sport. I just kind of feel a lot of that is because cable and the internet now making watching sports easier to do.I just hate having to grudgingly admit that Selig had a lot to do with it after he nearly drove me away in 94.

    • jkay1818 - Aug 27, 2014 at 9:14 AM

      great post, and you don’t need a lot of “data” selig has done less for baseball as a commissioner than the other 3 major sports. Without getting into a whole debate and rant, Cuban would be excellent for baseball.

    • floodoobious - Aug 27, 2014 at 10:54 AM

      Well since Craig gets paid by the article – he has to crank one out every 20 minutes. He only has time to be condescending and snarky. I wish he wasn’t filling up this other-wise great site with his garbage. I wish we had more articles by Aaron Gleeman, Drew Silva or Joe Posnanski (although Craig might be rubbing off on him). Also, PFT and PBT are usually great too. Craig just personally attacks people and calls it baseball writing. His stances on certain subjects are hilarious though.

  14. bluesoxbaseball - Aug 26, 2014 at 11:36 PM

    I agree with Cuban.

  15. wingskc - Aug 27, 2014 at 12:03 AM

    The accent was Jersey, not black. Sheesh.

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