Baseball Commissioner Determined to Finish Ruining the Game Before He Finally Quits

Baseball commissioner Bud Selig—who presided over the

1994 baseball strike

, the

steroid-inflated home-run chase

of the late ‘90s, the pointlessness of


play, the extortion of

billions of dollars in public funds

to build

stupidly quirky phony old-fashioned ballparks

, the

intentional destruction

and theft of the Montreal Expos, and the

dismantling of the pennant-race system

in favor of the crapshoot of expanded playoffs—wants to secure his legacy by adding

yet another layer of playoffs

before he retires in 2012.

At least, he says he’s going to retire in 2012. People

have their doubts

about that, given Selig’s record of deception and bad faith.

Dishonesty and the cheapening of the game have been Selig’s guiding impulses from the moment he assumed the mantle of ”

acting commissioner

” in 1992. He held that title for six years while still serving as active owner of the Milwaukee Brewers—a shameless

conflict of interest

for someone who was supposed to be the supreme authority over his fellow team owners. When he finally admitted he was the full-time commissioner in 1998 and assumed the title, he simply let his daughter hold the Brewers for him.

Under Selig’s new proposal, there would a second wild card team in each league, for a total of 10 teams in the playoffs, because “It’s more fair than eight.”

Supposedly, the original theory behind the wild card—besides the need to fill out the playoff field under Selig’s sloppy and awkward three-division realignment of the leagues—was that it would be a way to reward the strongest runner-up in the league, a team that might have been better than some of the weaker division champions. This year, for instance, the wild-card New York Yankees had the second-best record in the American League.

If there had been another American League playoff berth this season, though, it would have gone to the Boston Red Sox, who had a

worse record

than all four AL teams that made the 2010 postseason. In the National League, the extra wild card would have been the San Diego Padres, who likewise had the fifth-best record.

This doesn’t mean the Red Sox and the Padres were actually the fifth-best teams; another Selig innovation, the

unbalanced schedule

, means that it is impossible to really compare the records of teams from different divisions. They might have been the second-best or the seventh-best. Once upon a time, that would have been reason enough not to let them play for the championship. But Bud Selig doesn’t care about whether the best team wins. If Selig believed merit counted for anything, he would have resigned in shame

16 years ago