Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig has come out with this definitive statement on the Alex Rodriguez steroid scandal: A-Rod has “shamed the game.” The reverberations of Bud’s comments will shake the foundation of the sport to its performance-enhanced roots. What shortstop pocketing millions of dollars could live with himself knowing that if he shoots himself in the ass with HGH he’ll cast a shadow over the game?
ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt was recently suspended for saying that Selig was “someone who looks like a computer programmer, substitute teacher or government worker” and that Selig’s 18.5 million dollar salary caused Van Pelt to choke on his own vomit. Van Pelt continued by stating that Selig was a “pimp for real. He probably has a chalice with ‘B-U-D’ spelled out in jewels and diamonds. You drink from a chalice if you’re a pimp.” Van Pelt couldn’t have been more wrong. Pimps have girls and hookers and whores. Bud only supervised drug users. He just didn’t realize it. And no one can blame him for that: He was a car dealer, not McNulty from The Wire.
There was no way Bud could have known that drugs had infiltrated his sport. He was not yet commissioner and wasn’t in Fenway when 30,000 Sox fans chanted “STER-OIDS” at Jose Canseco in the 1990 playoffs. Apparently, the average drunken Bostonain realized something that neither baseball executives nor sportswriters could figure out. But the well-above-average intelligence of Northeasterners should not reflect poorly on Bud.
Of course, there were the proportionally increasing size of players and home run totals. Starting in 1999, the record for number of homers passed 61 (established in 1961) with Mark Mcgwire’s 65, eventually landing on Barry Bond’s 73 in 2001. During that time McGwire went from ” big guy” to “muscle bound freak,” and a once-normal Bonds turned into the Incredible Hulk with a Volkswagen Bug for a head. One can surmise that Bud was busy investigating if baseballs had become too tightly wound and why there were so many bad pitchers, the most likely explanations for all the long balls.
Ultimately, however, Bud can take credit for exposing the performance enhancing drug problem in the sport. If not for Selig’s complete ignorance of the issue, Jose Canseco’s memoir, Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ‘Roids, Smash Hits, and How Baseball Got Big, would have never had the impact it did. Upon the book’s release, Congress felt compelled to step in and address the problem, with Bud doing his best impression of Captain Binghamtom in front of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. No, Bud didn’t come off as knowing anything or having a clue, but by the nature of his exemplary ineptness, he brought about the machinations that have begun to clean up the sport.
Now when Bud talks, baseball listens. Right after it stops laughing.