Everything in baseball skyrocketed with Bud Selig as commissioner – attendance, profits, franchise value, player salaries and of course, statistics. But while those within baseball might remember Selig for helping the sport succeed economically, the American public will forever associate him with the “fairytale five,” McGwire, Sosa, Bonds, Clemens and now Alex Rodriguez, the leaders of an era tainted by steroids and phony statistics.
In a time where most of the cheaters remain in hiding and the ones who do confess need to be prepped by crisis management teams before speaking publicly, Selig has the opportunity the make the largest statement of all. He needs to resign, effective immediately, to show the world that he is truly ashamed of what happened throughout his tenure as baseball’s commissioner.
Instead, he’ll sit back and collect his exorbitant $18.5 million salary, which is more than every other commissioner in sports and almost every athlete on the face of the earth. He’ll sit there and condemn the steroid users while taking little responsibility for practically celebrating the use of performance-enhancing drugs ten years ago.
"While Alex deserves credit for publicly confronting the issue, there is no valid excuse for using such substances, and those who use them have shamed the game,” he said. "It is important to remember that these recent revelations relate to pre-program activity. Under our current drug program, if you are caught using steroids and/or amphetamines, you will be punished. Since 2005, every player who has tested positive for steroids has been suspended for as much as 50 games."
How pathetic. Selig will stand up and criticize anyone who was on the juice, but in order to soften the blow to his sport, he points to a testing policy that came along a decade too late. The truth is it essentially took an act of congress for the commissioner to even recognize his sport had a problem.
Now he’s starting to sound a lot like the players who ruined the game. He wants us to forget about the past like McGwire and consider how clean baseball has been in recent years, just like ARod asked fans to do this week. He wants us to consider his entire resume when we judge him, similar to Bonds and Clemens.
But I don’t buy it. I want him to disappear from the sport like Sosa and McGwire. Selig cannot repair his legacy because it’s already set in stone: He had a jacked up salary in a juiced up game that most people consider about as authentic as the WWE.
In the best interest of baseball, Selig should step down and let the game move forward with fresh leadership as it attempts to enter a new era. The history books won’t let us forget what happened during his tenure, but the sport can and will survive.
Selig shouldn’t be so lucky.