There are two ways to become a legend. You take the Jimi Hendrix route, displaying a feverish flowering of brilliance before an untimely death, or you hang around forever, until short memories presume your farts part of the natural potpourri.
Bud Selig has taken the latter route. The 77-year-old has decided that, yes, $22 million annually is enough to keep his red ties in active rotation. The news has engendered a number of tributes, including a fawning paean, penned by a columnist under his own employ.
Hal Bodley wrote this piece for MLB.com, entitled “Selig’s Importance Can’t Be Overstated.” Without going into full FJM-mode, here some of the more unctuous morsels.
Bud Selig, clad in a bright blue blazer, his hair ruffled as always, was making the rounds Wednesday afternoon at the posh Sanctuary Camelback Mountain resort, where Major League owners are holding quarterly meetings.
“Look at him,” said an owner, who’ll go unnamed. “He’s always working. He never stops. He has a bounce in his step because he loves every minute of this.”
Hair tousled. Unnatural vigor. Is this a column lede or the intro to a romance novel?
For Bud Selig, it’s baseball, baseball, baseball. That’s why he needs the job as much as the owners need him.
Selig’s oasis is in front of a huge TV screen watching game after game after game. And as an aside, maybe noting a manager’s strategy or a bad call by an umpire.
Bud Selig can sit on a couch with the best of them. That’s why he makes more than twice as much Roger Goodell.
During his tenure, Selig has made radical changes to the game, and although he’s had his detractors, virtually all of the changes have improved baseball’s popularity and prosperity — an era of greatness. Revenues this year, for example, will be more than $7 billion.
Yes, this is truly baseball’s golden age. Here’s baseball clearly becoming more popular during Bud Selig’s tenure. Those lofty attendance numbers? Totally not a bubble created by new stadiums. Baseball fans should never forget how he DP-ed them by fleecing billions of dollars of in public funding and raising ticket prices exorbitantly.
There are those who insist that he should be remembered because he was in charge during the so-called performance-enhancing drugs era, but once it was in full bloom, no one pushed harder for a program to conquer the problem. The current drug-testing program worked out with the players union is the most stringent in team sports.
Yes, he and his fellow owners rode the roid-fueled home run boom back into America’s hearts and pocketbooks, allowing it to mushroom to the point Congress felt compelled to step in. Once that happened, Selig totally addressed the issue…oops, sorry…the “so-called” issue. PEDs are now “virtually non-existent.” Ignore that 2011 NL MVP award…
But of all Bud Selig’s achievements, being able to create a strong working relationship with the players union should be his legacy. From the dark days of the devastating strike in 1994-95, baseball has and will have labor peace for 22 years.
In 15 years, BP’s enduring legacy will clearly be the billions the company spent helping revitalizing the Gulf of Mexico.
[Photo via Getty]