Thursday, January 17, 2008

Let Me Get This Straight...

Baseball is a game I love dearly.

I start looking forward to next season around mid-November and begin work on my fantasy draft cheat sheets in January. So suffice it to say that all the steroid issues surrounding it have left me with negative feelings toward the game as a whole. A feeling I'm not used to and can't say I'm very fond of.

As pervasive as performance enhancing drugs have been in baseball for roughly the last 15 years I refuse to place the blame at the feet of any one player, but rather at the feet of those in charge of the game, namely the commissioner, the player's association and ownership.

So to hear today that Bud Selig was given an extension through 2012 thanks to a unanimous vote by the owners was surprising and upsetting to say the least.

Apparently I missed something along the way and amidst all the "outrage" and "disgust" over the state of the game and the tarnishing of records long held as the most sacred in all of sports. How exactly is it that a man who in no small way helped facilitate the "steroid era" not only doesn't get fired, but is given a new contract?

Forget the fact that the curmudgeonly Selig isn't exactly the most likable persona in sports, the man presided over a period in the game's history that outside of the days of racial segregation has to rank as one of the worst.

Meanwhile the players involved in the controversy, many of whom by the way weren't doing anything that was against the rules of the game when they did it, are finding themselves persecuted and punished by the game as well as the government.

I understand that economically speaking the game has never been as fruitful as it is right now. Sparkling new stadiums are popping up all over and attendance, as Selig relishes in pointing out at every turn, is at an all-time high.

That does not however excuse the fact that the game's commissioner conveniently looked the other way while the popularity of baseball was saved in no small way by the glorification of the long ball.

Just the other day Selig sat in front of a congressional committee, wasting taxpayer money in the process, and told them that as much as anyone he was to blame for what was going on during the "steroid era" in baseball.

"All of us have to take responsibility, starting with me," said Selig.

Now I was brought up understanding that along with responsibility came consequences for actions that betrayed those responsibilities. Apparently the same rules do not apply at the commissioner's office.

Instead the owners have decided to give Selig an opportunity to repair a legacy that in my opinion deserves to go down with the likes of Pete Rose and the 1919 White Sox as the most tarnished in the history of baseball.

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