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August 20, 2014

The Lineup Card

Seven Epitaphs for Bud Selig's Reign

by Baseball Prospectus


1. Most of what he did worked. Interleague play? Annoyed the traditionalists, made great bank. Wild cards? Annoyed the traditionalists, made great bank. A bunch of new stadiums? Annoyed the traditionalists, made great bank. The sport is in pretty good shape. Not a bad 20 years. —Russell A. Carleton

2. There was divisional play before Bud Selig showed up, but we never saw the meaning of the championship altered like we have in the last two-plus decades. If you look back on Selig's main innovations that concerned the season, each decision weighed the notion that the best team (or at least a great team) would be crowned champion against financial or other concerns. And each time, the meaningful champion lost.

Selig's tenure saw the expansion to six divisions, which can lead to subpar division winners, the addition of a wild card, the reintroduction of the five-game series, the unbalancing of the schedule and the invention of interleague play with different opponents. These all serve to create randomness and decrease the chances of better teams advancing. (The second wild card has effects in both directions on this.)

It's fine to say that this is fine. That sports are about who can win when it's time to win and if you take the randomness out and play a big sample of 162 with a champion at the end, then you're really just having a GM competition. Like it or not, Selig's reign established where baseball stands on this topic. It stands much closer to every other American sport, where everybody's welcome in the playoffs. That's where the money is. —Zachary Levine

3. Allan Huber “Bud” Selig, acting commissioner 1992-1998, commissioner of baseball 1998-2014. He had a complicated tenure that saw a host of good ideas, a series high-profile disasters and a tied All-Star Game in the middle. Selig will perhaps be most remembered for the Steroid Era and the subsequent prosecution of those users while conveniently ignoring the suppliers. Selig’s final legacy is muddled in opinion as we will define him fairly differently person-to-person. For me, it is a legacy that had its few bright spots dimmed by the specter of his failures. —Mauricio Rubio

4. The shrug that bored. The shrug that was ignored would be better, but it wasn't meant to be. Now, we have an All-Star Game that counts. —Harry Pavlidis

5. Most only ever saw him in a collared shirt. It was for the best. —Jeff Quinton

6. He never quite could say, 'Los Angeles'." —Craig Goldstein

7. Bud Selig ruled a sport of hypermasculine hulks, yet himself looked like Bill Gates after a three-week cleanse. He managed an industry that aspired to break into the youth market, yet was so old he might have once had classmates named Adolf. His primary task was to charm two disparate groups of multimillionaires and multibillionaires, to be the cool cat giving them center, yet himself never came off as anything cool, catlike, or remotely likable. That he accomplished so much and leaves the sport so strong should inspire us all. —Sam Miller

Related Content:  Bud Selig,  Major League Baseball,  MLB

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Fantasy Article They Hold No Quarter: ... (08/20)
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