It would be an exaggeration, but not TOO great of one, to say that everything I’ve learned in life I’ve learned from the Christian Bible, The Book, Babylon 5 and the British sitcom Yes, Minister. In the last of those, cabinet minister Jim Hacker has to deal with the difficulty of balancing the demands of politics with the machinations of the civil servants supposedly serving him (and occasionally, with the notion of actually doing the right thing).
In one episode, the new leader of the fictional country of Buranda is visiting the UK in hopes of purchasing some oil rigs that the government is very keen to sell to them. Hacker has set up a visit between Buranda’s president and the queen as a way to deliver a state visit to some “marginal constituencies” (the equivalent of swing districts) immediately before an election. His brilliant plan seems to backfire, though, after the leader of Buranda gives them an advance copy of the speech he plans to make, where he urges the Scots and Irish to fight British oppression. A panicked Hacker sounds out his chief source of advice, Sir Humphrey Appleby:
The All-Star Game will never be taken seriously because of a flaw in its design, but it's time to stop trying to fix it.
Every year around this time, we get deluged with people arguing that 1) The All-Star Game has all sorts of problems and needs to be fixed and, hoo boy, I happen to have the prescription to fix everything right here, or 2) The All-Star Game is awful/past its prime/straight up smelly and should be junked.
I’m not here to argue any of that. Instead I’m here to say this: It’s time to stop trying to fix the All-Star Game. Not because a better All-Star Game isn’t desirable, but because it isn’t achievable.
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A list of things Bud Selig should make it a priority to do under his new extension
Late last week, Bud Selig, that consensus builder of The Lodge and players union, was voted by the league’s owners to receive an extension through the 2014 season. The league’s Executive Council placed the two-year extension in nomination after requesting of Selig that he remain in the position past the expiration of his contract on December 31, 2012. In other words, his employers (read, the owners) love him, and there’s really no one out there at the moment that they seems in a hurry to put in his place (see “Why Selig Isn’t Retiring”).
Selig has been at the head of the league since September 9, 1992, first as interim commissioner and then as the ninth commissioner in the history of Major League Baseball, a position to which he was elected on July 9, 1998. This marks the fourth extension for Selig, who agreed to new three-year contracts in 2001, 2004 and 2008. Only the first commissioner, Kenesaw Mountain Landis—who served from January 12, 1921 until his passing on November 25, 1944—accumulated more experience as the leader of the sport than Selig. Since taking over in 1992, the league’s gross revenues have grown from $1.2 billion to over $7 billion in 2010.