Saturday, December 8, 2007

The last commissioner

Former MLB Commissioner Fay Vincent has written an excellent op-ed piece on the Hall of Fame's repeated failure to honor Marvin Miller, and this year's pointless election of Bowie Kuhn. He adds a very brief note mentioning his own departure from baseball, and I think that deserves more.

Fay Vincent was a man of principle and dedication, who took over baseball after Bart Giamatti's sudden death. Vincent's attempt to realign the National League was his eventual undoing, although he clashed with owners repeatedly. Some of the team owners who conspired against Fay Vincent included:

Bud Selig: inventor of one of baseball's more dubious tax fictions, the depreciation of player values even as they climb through the minors to become major league stars. Also, the first commissioner to be a team owner, negating the entire concept of independence in that office.

Peter O'Malley: part of the family that tore the Dodgers away from Brooklyn.

Carl Pohlad: a man whose team continues to thrive (under an amazing GM) despite his refusal to make any effort to secure free agents, pay to keep stars, or even care if he has a team at all. Remember, he wanted his own Twins franchise folded and paid out along with the Expos.

Stanton Cook: owner of the Tribune, the same company under which the Cubs routinely sold vast numbers of tickets to Tribune owned brokers which then tripled the price.

Who should have been thrown out of baseball?

Then there's George Steinbrenner. He was booted from the game by Vincent for hiring someone to dig up dirt on Dave Winfield. Naturally, Selig reinstated the Boss. There is honor among thieves.

Let me know if anyone decides to reinstate Buck Weaver.

Do you really think an independent commissioner would have let home run totals and Barry Bonds' head and starting pitcher's careers grow so huge without even asking a question or two? Do you really think an independent commissioner would have tried to kill two franchises to line a few pockets? Do you really think an independent commissioner would have allowed the Fox Network to dictate the starting time of the World Series?

Someone get me a time machine. I want to find out for myself.


Beth said...

Me too! Ping me when you find one (time machine).

David D said...

Will do. Or maybe I already did...