Isaac Kaplan

"Is it any wonder I've got too much time on my hands?"

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Selig's Second-Worst Moment

My take on Bonds breaking the record is very similar to my analysis of the Kolko fiasco. While Kolko was certainly at fault, I said that Margulies deserved to bear the brunt of the blame for not nipping the problem in the bud and getting Kolko the hell out there years ago. So too with Selig. I hate Bonds as much as the next guy, but Selig is the real villain here.

And years from now, when we assess Selig's legacy, the #1 low point is easily that day in September 1994, when he cancelled the World Series. As a Yankee fan, I couldn't bear to watch. A great season with Donnie, Buck, O'Neill and Jimmy Key was shattered. And baseball died in Montreal.

But Bonds breaking the record is easily second on the list. Bonds' milestone homer is a sad coda to the steroids era, and the commissioner's inaction in dealing with the issue. (And McGwire's homer in '98 is on the list as well.)

I give the guy credit for finally addressing the issue a few years ago and setting up a disciplinary system, but it was too little, too late. And what's he doing to address HGH and other designer drugs that BALCO cooks up? Is he staying a step ahead of the cheaters?

In a way, I can't totally kill Selig for what he did, because perhaps looking at where baseball was in '95, he had no choice. The game was still reeling from the strike, and maybe a steroids scandal in 1996, which would've involved big names like McGwire and Juan Gonzalez, would've killed the game, making it about as relevant as the NHL come 2007.

But to me, that's Selig's legacy in a nutshell. From a business standpoint, the game is in its best shape ever, with lots of new ballpark and record-breaking revenue. But the price has been the integrity of the game. Steroids, interleague play, ads all over - this is not the game we had in 1988.

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