Allan Huber “Bud” Selig has one extraordinary talent, and he wields it constantly and with authority: gradually stripping away everything that makes baseball unique and beloved as a sport.
Major League Baseball and the players’ union are negotiating the next collective bargaining agreement (for once, baseball seems in no imminent danger of a lockout or strike, though Selig still has plenty of time to fuck that up), which means that Allan Huber “Bud” Selig sees an opportunity to increase cronyism and corruption in the game, while alienating fans and whichever owners and players are not on Team Bud.1
Allan Huber “Bud” Selig has come up with many counterproductive and flat-out stupid proposals over the years, and he may be about to outdo himself. Apparently, baseball is considering a radical realignment plan, which would shift one team to the American League to create two 15-team leagues. Additionally, divisions would be eliminated entirely, and five teams from each league would make the playoffs.
How fucking stupid can Allan Huber “Bud” Selig be? (Very fucking stupid.)
Allan Huber “Bud” Selig has long wished that baseball could be more like the NFL and the NBA. He’s never been content to let baseball be its own thing. He’s watched the NFL surge past baseball in terms of popularity and revenue, and decided the best way to fight back is to turn baseball into the NFL. But doing so always backfires, because baseball is inherently not football. It’s a different game, with different rhythms. Just the difference between playing once a week for 16 weeks vs. playing a marathon 162-game schedule is massive. But Allan Huber “Bud” Selig only sees dollar signs, and they cloud his thoughts.
Turning baseball into the NFL Lite won’t make the sport more popular. It will only alienate those who love baseball for what it is — and they are still more than enough of those people to go around. Major League Baseball and all its teams are still rolling in cash.
The primary difference between baseball and its competitors is the importance of the regular season. Making the playoffs in baseball is more difficult than in any sport. For the most part, mediocre teams don’t get in — with the rare exception when a division like the NL Central is inept as a whole. Baseball doesn’t make us sit through dreary 1-vs.-8 seed matchups ad nauseum. If you get into the playoffs, you’ve already accomplished something. If you win your division, that’s something for your fans to hang their hats on. It feels good to be an AL East champion. It might not feel quite the same to be the fucking #3 seed out of 5 teams.
Allan Huber “Bud” Selig has already forever impugned baseball’s integrity with interleague play — which brings diminishing returns with each passing season — the Wild Card, the unbalanced schedule and more nods to lesser sports.
(And let us never forget that Allan Huber “Bud” Selig presided over baseball when the FUCKING WORLD SERIES WAS CANCELLED. Never let this disgraceful weasel live that down.)
I’m not Bob Costas. I’m not strictly a purist. I’m fine with innovations to the game when they make sense or improve things. I love the DH and I support much wider use of instant replay. But there are certain tenets within the framework of baseball that should not be tampered with by the likes of Allan Huber “Bud” Selig.
And now he wants to take away division titles, divisions themselves, whatever novelty remains from interleague play, and all common sense. This plan would eliminate pennant races, as central a component of baseball’s appeal as curveballs and stolen signs. September would be about the races between the fifth and sixth place teams, and that’s it — and that’s assuming there’s not a big gap in the standings. Who the fuck cares who comes in fifth place? And who cares about whether or not you’re seeded second or third? Playoff seeding fever! Catch it!
Everything about this plan is terrible and ill-conceived. Two 15-team leagues means that one series would always be interleague, which is dumb. Adding playoff teams is dumb, considering there’s already too much luck involved with the current playoff system, and that teams already regularly play into November.
But all Allan Huber “Bud” Selig can think about is that more playoff teams = more revenues, and he quite literally does not care how those playoff teams are added, as long as the money starts rolling in.
I doubt this proposal will become reality, because there are too many teams with too much to lose without the division structure. But the mere fact that Allan Huber “Bud” Selig would allow it to move to the “serious discussion” phase exposes him for the huckster he is, and has always been.
The good commissioner is also on the verge of allowing yet another terrible owner into the elite fraternity of Major League Baseball. Having apparently learned nothing from the Frank McCourt debacle, baseball is on the path to letting Jim Crane purchase the Astros. Among other things, Crane is a racist war-profiteer. Seems like a perfect fit for Allan Huber “Bud” Selig. And the beat goes fucking on.
1 Just kidding. Footnotes are the fucking worst. So pretentious.