Yesterday we detailed the polarizing effects of Pete Rose on the game of baseball, specifically with his barreling over of Ray Fosse at the 1970 All-Star Game. Today we look at someone similar, but on the other side of the playing field: Allan H. “Bud” Selig.
Bud Selig sometimes seemingly begged for a microscope to be placed on his Commissioner abilities due to changes made to a game that is not used to change. We’re talking about a sport where the two biggest changes since 1900 have been in the form of Free Agency and the Designated Hitter (which the NL still does not recognize). Selig rose to power after urging a coup of previous Commish Fay Vincent, of which Selig immediately became acting-Commissioner afterwards. Upon being put in charge, Selig went to work changing the landscape of baseball. By 2013 – after a 20 year run – Selig was at the forefront of realigning the divisions of baseball (from 2 in each league to 3), leading through a strike-shortened season, adding a Wild Card to the playoffs (doubling the amount of playoff-eligible teams), adding two additional expansion teams, beginning interleague play, beginning the World Baseball Classic, commissioning during the Steroid Era, instituting instant replay, and switching the Brewers to the National League (1998) and the Astros to the American League (2013). He was also the commissioner that claimed that the “All-Star game will count” starting in 2003, providing the winning league of the game home-field advantage in the World Series – which is kind of a big deal. And although the All-Star Game issue seemed the most trivial, it caught just as much flak as some of his other baseball edicts because of something he did during that 2002 game.
During the 2002 All-Star Game weekend, things were going as planned throughout its entirety. That is, up until the bottom of the 9th of the game itself, in which the score remained tied. Although extra innings are possible in exhibition events such as the All-Star Game, the way a game is managed is very different. Since managers are urged to play as many players from all of the different teams during the 9-inning affair, there were not a lot of bench players remaining – specifically, there was a shortage of pitchers. So after two more innings in which the game remain tied, both teams were currently on their last pitcher. The umpiring crew was called over by Selig, who was sitting front and center for the game, and a discussion ensued. As the television viewing audience was brought back post-commercial break, the announcers let the audience know that the game had been declared a tie. The fans of Milwaukee booed ever so loudly their own Commissioner, who was also once the owner of that very own city’s baseball team, the Milwaukee Brewers.
Since then, rosters have been expanded and not every All-Star gets his chance to play due to this fact. As previously mentioned, Selig also made the game count (home-field advantage in the World Series) but there has been a bad taste left in the mouth of all baseball fans by Bud Selig over the years and this just added to it. In life, there are very few things that are certain: our bodies need oxygen to survive, Walter Sobchak does not roll on Saturdays, and baseball games do not end in ties. The rest is up for discussion.