I’m sure we’re all completely shocked by the news that Bud Selig will stay on as Commissioner of Major League Baseball.
In all seriousness, as much as Selig insisted that he would depart at the end of his contract, there was just no way he was going to leave with so much unfinished business, namely the precarious financial situations of the Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Mets (yes, I blame the New York Yankees’ cross-town rivals in part for Selig’s decision not to ride off into the sunset. And Bernie Madoff, of course). If Selig can put the Dodgers in the capable hands of his one-time deputy Joe Torre and find a way to help the Mets out of their financial abyss, that would settle two of the biggest obstacles between Selig and retirement.
Did Selig really want to retire? I truly believe that he did want to leave his high-profile job and settle into an uncomplicated life in academia. But I also believe that Selig is not a man to walk away when things get tough. To be sure, he would have been leaving Major League Baseball in pretty good shape following the almost completely rancor-free contract negotiations that resolved many key issues: tighter drug testing, more expanded instant replay that will hopefully reduce controversial calls, additional wild cards that ensure the excitement of the 2011 regular season’s finish will be replicated every year.
But the financial troubles of two major franchises in baseball’s key markets was simply too much for Selig to walk away from, a delicate situation that the baseball owners probably did not trust another commissioner to handle, which is why I can imagine that they may have begged Selig to stay.
Whatever the reason, Selig’s decision to stay on is good for the game of baseball.