Tuesday, July 10, 2007

An Open Letter To Bud Selig


I realize that you’re a busy man. As Commissioner of Major League Baseball your job is to make important decisions, drive strategic direction around marketing and rulemaking, work with the owners and the unions, look after the financial picture and much more. I'm sure you have a lot on your plate.

But about this whole “I haven’t made up my mind” routine with respect to your attendance when Barry Bonds breaks the home-run record. I have a problem with that. You don’t have to go to every game after he’s hit 755 until he breaks it, but you should give it 3 or 4. It is widely regarded as one the top records in American sports history. This isn’t 3,000 hits or 300 wins or 700 homers. Those are arbitrary round numbers that we’ve decided mean something. This is the most homeruns, ever. According to this NY Times abstract, Peter Ueberroth was there when Rose tied the hit record. He was doing his job.

It’s your job to make an attempt to be there, to celebrate a historical moment in baseball. I have read/heard through media outlets no less than 100 times that “Bud Selig has not yet made up his mind if he’ll be there.” That’s ridiculous, and I’ll tell you why.

You had the chance to right this ship a long time ago. But you ignored it. You and the rest of baseball’s owners and general leadership (and of course, the union and players) did nothing about it. This is what that apathy has sewn, and you must deal with it. You don’t get to make a stance now, it’s too late. Just because you’ve stopped pretending that performance enhancing drugs weren’t being used by MLB players, it doesn’t mean you get to now conclude that what Bonds is doing doesn’t deserve your attendance.

You were in the stands when Cal Ripken Jr. broke Lou Gehrig’s consecutive games played record, and you’ve been in the stands for countless other moments while commissioner. I, as Joe MLB consumer, get to decide what I want to do with this record, and how I want to honor it. But you shouldn’t get this same right. This record is the logical, on field conclusion to the steroid era that you and MLB helped create by doing nothing.

So go to the game, and celebrate that.

1 comment:

Keith Law said...

My apologies to Jeff for inadvertently using the same rhetorical device on ESPN.com today. Anyway, Jeff, I couldn't agree with you more. Businesses shouldn't waste time addressing "moral" issues unless doing so helps the bottom line.