Tag: Bud Selig

Bud Selig, John Schuerholz Elected to Baseball Hall of Fame: Details, Reaction

Former MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and Atlanta Braves president and longtime executive John Schuerholz were elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday by the Today’s Game Era Committee.

David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported the news. The 16-person committee unanimously elected Schuerholz, while Selig received 15 votes.

“To say this is a significant day in my life would be an understatement. I consider myself very fortunate,” Selig said, per Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

This is the first year of the Today’s Game Era Committee voting, which aims to add deserving names from the modern era who have not been selected on the writers’ ballots.

George Steinbrenner, Lou Piniella, Mark McGwire, Davey Johnson, Orel Hershiser, Will Clark, Albert Belle and Harold Baines were also considered but did not receive enough votes. Piniella was the only person other than Selig or Schuerholz to receive more than five votes, per Baseball America.

Candidates needed 75 percent of the vote to make the Hall of Fame.

Selig, 82, served as MLB’s commissioner from September 1992 (acting) to January 2015. He oversaw some of the sport’s greatest moments of growth and perhaps the lowest moment in MLB history, with the 1994 work stoppage causing the cancelation of the World Series.

Baseball also underwent massive scrutiny under Selig for its lack of performance-enhancing-drug policy, which allowed home run records to be broken in part because of steroid use. The latter half of Selig’s tenure was largely about eradicating those issues and pushing the game into the 21st century. MLB now has perhaps the most stringent drug-testing policy of all four major professional sports in the U.S., and he turned the commissionership over to Rob Manfred after years of steady financial growth.

Schuerholz, 76, is a long-tenured baseball executive who had Hall of Fame-worthy runs with the Kansas City Royals and Braves. He spent the formative part of his career in Kansas City, moving up in the organization to eventually serve a successful general manager term. He was instrumental in building the Royals’ 1985 World Series team before joining Atlanta in 1990.

With the Braves, Schuerholz built a dynasty throughout the 1990s with a successful pitching staff. The Braves reached the World Series four times and won it in 1995, their first and only title since moving from Milwaukee.


Follow Tyler Conway (@jtylerconway) on Twitter.

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Scott Miller’s Starting 9: Derek Jeter Not Only Star Saying Farewell This Week

1. Farewell to The Captain…The Other Captain

And now, the end is near, Frank Sinatra is cued up and the Captain will face his final curtain.   

No, not Derek Jeter.   

Well, him, too, which is why when that final curtain falls this Sunday in Chicago, Paul Konerko will be over there in the shadows while all eyes are on Jeter’s finale in Boston.

There will be no lump-in-the-throat Gatorade commercial bringing Konerko home, no national spotlight. But the least we can do is pause long enough to send a tip of the cap to the Derek Jeter of the White Sox, a graceful player who will have his No. 14 retired this weekend as Chicago emotionally celebrates its own retiring legend.

“They’re both smart, classy, talented guys,” says Braves hitting coach Greg Walker, Konerko’s hitting coach with the White Sox from 2003-11. “I think how Paulie represented baseball shined a light for other players on how to do it the right way.

“If your best player does it the right way, then your young players will do it the right way, too.”

For 16 seasons, Konerko has done everything the right way in Chicago. His Game 2 grand slam against the Astros in ’05 helped the Sox win their first World Series in 88 years. His five homers and 15 RBI during that ’05 postseason will be remembered vividly even when Ozzie Guillen’s great-great grandson is playing shortstop on the South Side a few decades from now.

Konerko’s 432 homers and 1,383 RBI trail only Hall of Famer Frank Thomas in White Sox history, and only Hall of Famer Luke Appling played in more games for Chicago. Only Nellie Fox and Appling had more hits for the White Sox, and Konerko is the club’s all-time leader in total bases.

“I’ll tell you this,” says former White Sox pitcher Jake Peavy. “When I played with him and he was right, he was the best fastball hitter I’ve ever played with. He didn’t miss a fastball.”

Says Walker: “One of the best fastball hitters, if not the best, of his generation.”

For years, wherever Walker has traveled, hitters throughout the land have wanted to know the secrets to Konerko’s approach, mechanics and work ethic.

“Really a brilliant guy,” Walker says. “Early on when we worked together, we made an agreement: If I wanted to make any changes, it would have to be scientific.” Meaning, Konerko knew at all times exactly where his hands were during an at-bat, where his feet were placed and the general parameters of his swing path. And he was more obsessive-compulsive about all of it than an old couple insisting on an uncluttered house.

If anything—anything—was to be changed, Konerko wanted specific reasons.

But because he was so in tune with all of this, and because he was so analytical, Konerko was the master of making adjustments on the fly. And as such, he became the Man of a Million Swings.

“I used to joke with him, ‘What swing are you going to use today?’ ” Walker says. “And he’d say, ‘Number 72.’ Or, ‘Number 38.’

“I’ve seen him step out of the box, make an adjustment during the at-bat, step back in and hit a home run.”

Adds Walker: “I think that’s why he’s been such a big-game player. World Series, All-Star Games, he can make adjustments most people can’t. Or, instead of looking at it like, ‘This is the way I’ve always done it,’ he’ll say ‘Let’s come up with something else. I’m not going to keep making the same mistake over and over.'”

A lot of people are going to miss Konerko throughout the game, and it goes far beyond the White Sox simply being without one of the best middle-of-the-lineup players they’ve ever had.

“There’s not a whole lot of talk about him,” Peavy says. “Listen, Derek Jeter deserves every bit of credit. But Paul Konerko has had a wonderful career, and he’s done it the right way in a big city as well.

“It was an honor to play with such a great player and call him a friend.”


2. Atlanta Follows Brave New Path

Even more impressive than the Braves’ streak of 14 consecutive titles was their run of stability: Not since 1990 had they fired a general manager or manager.

That is, until Monday, the day after they were eliminated from the postseason, when they tomahawk-chopped GM Frank Wren.

The Braves’ second massive collapse in four seasons doomed Wren, who constructed a flawed roster with too many high-strikeout, low-on-base guys who failed to click. The Braves also fired Bruce Manno, director of player development.

At a press conference Monday, club president John Schuerholz spoke of “putting in place the finest baseball operations [staff] ever seen in Major League Baseball” to take the club to “higher and greater ground.”

Three early names to watch:

• John Coppolella, 35, the Braves’ assistant general manager, is very highly thought of and respected throughout the game.

• Kansas City GM Dayton Moore, who worked in Atlanta’s organization from 1994 to 2006 before leaving for the Royals. Schuerholz repeatedly referenced the “Braves Way” Monday, and Moore certainly knows the blueprint there. He’s worked hard to install a similar plan in Kansas City, where he has two years left on his contract.

• Former Cubs GM Jim Hendry, who built a winner for a time in Chicago and currently is Yankees GM Brian Cashman’s assistant. Hendry has a very good relationship with Schuerholz and Co., knows talent and would seem to fit in well in the Braves’ collegial atmosphere.

Beyond that, longtime baseball man John Hart, named as the Braves’ interim GM by his good pal Schuerholz, is said to be enjoying his television work at MLB Network and the flexibility that affords him too much to want to go back to being a GM full time.

However, he also would not definitively rule out the idea of him becoming Atlanta’s full-time GM. As Schuerholz quipped, “It is not a completely closed or open door, is what he meant to say.”

Several of Wren’s high-profile free-agent signings became unmitigated disasters, most notably outfielder B.J. Upton (five years, $75.25 million), Dan Uggla (five years, $62 million) and Derek Lowe (four years, $60 million). Add some internal discord—among other things, Cox and Wren clashed, something that went very public when Cox failed to mention the GM during his Hall of Fame induction speech this summer—and the door to Wren’s exit was opened wide.

As for the biggest on-field reasons, Upton and Uggla, in particular, were representative of the club’s streaky, high-strikeout lineups in recent years.

As one longtime executive told Bleacher Report, “Two contracts like that set your organization back for years.”

Added a longtime scout: “They’ve got to split up the Upton brothers.” Justin, acquired by Wren in a trade, has outperformed his brother.

Schuerholz says the new GM will have the ultimate decision on manager Fredi Gonzalez, who survived Monday’s bloodletting, and there is a high probability that when the Braves convene next spring in Florida, Gonzalez will remain as manager.

Asked whether he would endorse Gonzalez to the new GM, Hall of Fame manager Bobby Cox said, “Yes, absolutely.”

Cox was fierce in his support.

“Fredi’s done a remarkable job since he’s taken over,” Cox said. “For me, since 2011, I think he’s been outstanding. Last year, he had a difficult time winning 96 games with the things that were taking place.”


3. Let’s Get a Move On

Anybody who’s been to a baseball game lately knows that…zzzzzz.

Sorry, dozed off there. Allow me to start again:

Anybody who’s watched a baseball game on television lately knows that…zzzzzz.

OK, let me put this another way: The top priority of incoming commissioner Rob Manfred must be to reconnect with the younger generation. That covers a lot of ground, and one key tenet is tackling the (snail’s) pace of game.

Baseball announced Monday that Bud Selig recently conducted a conference call with a new pace-of-game committee, which will be chaired by Braves president Schuerholz and also includes Manfred, Mets GM Sandy Alderson, Red Sox co-owner Tom Werner and team partner Michael Gordon, players’ union boss Tony Clark and MLB executive VP Joe Torre.

The average MLB game this year is running a whopping three hours and 13 minutes. Here are a few things the committee should be discussing:

• Enforce a rule already on the books, that pitchers have a maximum of 12 seconds to throw the ball after they receive it. Not to pick on one guy in particular, because many are guilty, but Giants reliever Jean Machi on Sunday took 41 seconds to deliver one pitch in San Diego, and 35 seconds to deliver another.

 Once hitters step into the batter’s box, they should stay there. No stepping out after every pitch to adjust batting gloves, helmets or to look for ma in the stands.

 Kill walkup songs. Just do away with them. Look, I’m into music as much as anybody, but all the walkup songs do is cause the batter to move more slowly into the box. Get in there and get to work.

 Streamline the new instant replay system. This one is obvious. Managers sloooowly walking out to an umpire while waiting to get word from a coach as to whether they should challenge a call is wasting more time than your Aunt Hattie on the telephone. This one has got to be seriously tweaked.

 Plate umpires need to call the entire strike zone, both north to south and east to west. Small strike zones drag things out. Call a big zone, it moves the game along and it encourages hitters to swing, rather than pick over every pitch as if sorting through peaches looking for the ripest.


4. Matt Kemp Rising

Maybe we were all wrong about Matt Kemp. Perhaps all he needed following major shoulder and ankle surgeries was, duh, time, sweet time to work off the rust and recalibrate his timing.

Following his four-hit, four-RBI day Sunday, Kemp entered this week leading all NL regulars after the All-Star break in slugging percentage (.594), was second in home runs (15) and fourth in OPS (.964). He ranked second to teammate Adrian Gonzalez (52) with 49 RBI. The talk of how to squeeze four outfielders into three spots has dissipated. Kemp not only has earned the right to play every day—the Dodgers need him. Especially with Hanley Ramirez in and out of the lineup and Yasiel Puig’s inconsistency this year.

And don’t underestimate the fact that since getting yanked out of center field because he was becoming a liability, Kemp has found a comfort level in right field that he did not in left. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly initially moved him to left before settling on right, the position Kemp grew up playing. Through Monday, Kemp had played 44 games in left this season for the Dodgers, 41 games in center and 54 in right.


5. Big Week for Pirates

As the Pirates and Giants jockey for NL wild-card position—so long, Brewers—logic tells you that home-field advantage in next week’s Wild Card Game will be invaluable to the Pirates.

Their 51-30 home record is tied with St. Louis for the NL’s best. And baseball fever is fully back at PNC Park, where the Pirates set a record this season with more than 2.4 million in attendance.

Now for the twist: Oddly, a Giants-Pirates Wild Card Game in Pittsburgh might also be best for…San Francisco?

The Giants have not played particularly well at home this year. They are 42-35 at AT&T Park only because they’ve won 12 of their past 15 games there. Until a 6-1 homestand last month against Colorado and Milwaukee, the Giants were stumbling badly at home in one of many odd turns to their year.

Overall, coming into this week, the Giants ranked eighth among NL teams in runs scored at home (303), eighth in home batting average (.257) and 11th in slugging percentage at home (.381).


6. Nationals Treasure: Should He or Shouldn’t He?

The biggest question as Stephen Strasburg prepares to participate in the first postseason of his career is whether he should start Game 1 next week for the Nationals.

During a wide-ranging discussion on MLB Network Radio last week, I said I’d go with Jordan Zimmermann. A very well-reasoned caller made a case for Doug Fister.

Now, indications are that manager Matt Williams may choose Strasburg. So, please allow me to do what managers who are preparing for the postseason all over are doing: re-evaluate and study daily. And the more I do, the more I’m thinking Strasburg.

For one thing, the man who would be the Nats’ ace has pitched as if he is in his most recent outings. Over his past five starts, Strasburg has produced a 1.35 ERA with 33 strikeouts and just two walks. For another, the Nats will open the Division Series at home, and Strasburg, for whatever reason, has been much more comfortable there this season.

In 17 home games at Nationals Park, Strasburg is 8-3 with a 2.70 ERA and a 1.055 WHIP.

In 16 road games, the right-hander is 5-8 with a 3.82 ERA and a 1.232 WHIP.

If the Nationals are going to go as far as they hope, Strasburg is going to have to win on the road in October. But given his current run and his home credentials, as well as the fact that the Nationals have treated him as an ace all along, he’s earned Game 1.


7. Jerome Williams, Athletics Killer

If Oakland misses the playoffs by a game, you can blame veteran right-hander Jerome Williams, who over the weekend became the first pitcher in history to beat a team three times in a season while pitching for three different clubs.

Working for the Phillies, Williams beat the A’s on Saturday.

Working for the Rangers, Williams beat the A’s on July 25.

Working for the Astros, Williams beat the A’s on April 26.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only one pitcher since 1900 has even had a chance to beat the same club three times in a season for three different teams: Willis Hudlin, who beat the Philadelphia Athletics (yes, the A’s again) pitching for Cleveland and the Washington Senators in 1940. He faced them again later that season while pitching for the St. Louis Browns, but, alas, the Browns lost.


8. Award-Winning Short

Have you seen Gatorade’s spot on Derek Jeter’s farewell? If you haven’t, you absolutely should. It is terrific:


9. This Guy Once Ate Vicks VapoRub

Bumped into the inimitable, legendary Kevin Mitchell at the park the other day. Mitch always was a favorite. He was fun to watch, always had a smile and often some crazy story that made you wonder if he really was a native of, say, Pluto. Like the Vicks story. He used to say when he had a cold he would eat a bit of the stuff.

Anyway, Mitch looks pretty good. No heavier than when he was playing. Still rocking the gold front tooth. But he’s due for right hip replacement surgery within the next couple of weeks, which will temporarily sideline him from his work as a hitting instructor for kids from seven or eight years old all the way up through college age at the Brick Yard in San Diego.

He asked whether I thought the Marlins’ Giancarlo Stanton or the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw would win the NL MVP award. You can guess who he’s rooting for.

“I’m a hitter,” said Mitchell, who added that he doesn’t attend many MLB games anymore, but he made it a point to come to Petco Park earlier this season to see Stanton.

“Unbelievable,” Mitchell said. “Love him. I’ve never seen the kid play. Only on TV. I wanted to see how big he is. He makes the game seem easy.”


“These kids are unbelievably big.”

About that time, Padres broadcaster Mark Grant, who once was traded for Mitchell, came over to say hello and asked Mitchell if he remembered the time he came to the park all depressed because he had lost his snake.

“Yes,” Mitchell said. “He was gone for two-and-a-half months.”

Two-and-a-half months? Turned out, the snake was hiding in Mitchell’s house all that time. Then one day, just as quickly as the snake disappeared, he reappeared.

“Came out hungry,” Mitchell said.


9a. Rock ‘n’ Roll Lyric of the Week

Ah, you slumping Athletics, Brewers and Braves…

“Now you’re lookin’ at a man that’s gettin’ kinda mad

“I had a lot of luck but it’s all been bad

“No matter how I struggle and strive

“I’ll never get out of this world a-live

“My fishin’ pole’s broke, the creek is full of sand

“My woman run away with another man

“No matter how I struggle and strive

“I’ll never get out of this world alive

“Ev’rything’s agin’ me and it’s got me down

“If I jumped in the river I would prob’ly drown

“No matter how I struggle and strive

“I’ll never get out of this world alive

—Steve Earle, “I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive”


Scott Miller covers Major League Baseball as a national columnist for Bleacher Report. He has over two decades of experience covering MLB, including 14 years as a national baseball columnist at CBSSports.com.

Follow Scott on Twitter and talk baseball @ScottMillerBbl.

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Tracking Latest News, Rumors for Bud Selig’s Replacement as MLB Commissioner

This isn’t just Derek Jeter’s farewell season. Bud Selig has remained adamant that he will retire from his position as MLB commissioner following the 2014 campaign. 

According to The Wall Street Journal‘s Brian Costa, the league has already begun the process to find a replacement, with Chief Operating Officer Rob Manfred serving as the leading candidate:

Costa added some more details:

Rob Manfred, MLB’s chief operating officer and longtime labor chief, who has Selig’s support, has the backing of roughly 20 owners, according to interviews with four high-ranking team executives. And while a formal vote is still likely months away—a candidate must receive at least 23 votes to win the job—a clear rival to Manfred has yet to emerge.

Manfred, who was promoted to COO following the 2013 season, has long been seen as Selig’s heir apparent. He has been a major part in negotiating several collective bargaining agreements and most recently led the investigative effort against Alex Rodriguez and other players in the Biogenesis scandal. 

The Chicago Sun-Times‘ Chris De Luca put it simply:

Still, not all the owners favor him. 

Back in May, The New York Times‘ Michael S. Schmidt reported that Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf was opposed to Selig hand-picking his replacement and thus not on board with the candidacy of Manfred, Selig’s right-hand man. 

Whoever ultimately gets the job is going to have some big shoes to fill. 

Selig, who has been commissioner since 1992, recently talked about his legacy, via The Boston Globe‘s Dan Shaughnessy:

I’ve thought a lot about it and I guess when all is said and done, I’d say the economic reformation of the sport [is the legacy] because there have been so many manifestations of that … We have the best competitive balance we’ve ever had and it’s led to so many other things.

Selig has had plenty of hiccups, from the infamous All-Star game tie to the cancellation of the 1994 World Series to the steroid era, but there’s no question the league has taken massive steps forward during his reign. 

It’s going to take an impressive candidate to continue to grow the league while handling a number of looming issues. The MASN negotiations could still be ongoing when Selig retires, and there’s always the presence of performance-enhancing drugs that threatens to put an ugly blemish on the game. 

For now, though, it appears Selig and many of the owners are confident that Manfred is the man for the job. 

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Analyzing Who Could Succeed Bud Selig as MLB Commissioner Enters Final Season

If Bud Selig is, in fact, going to retire at the end of the year as he says he will, then Major League Baseball has some work to do to figure out who’s on deck to become the next commissioner. 

The ninth person to take on the job in MLB‘s long and storied history, Selig has handled the role since 1992 and will turn 80 years old in July. If this is his last year, Selig—who’s been known to change his mind about retirement in the past—will have served for 23 seasons in the same capacity, which is the second-longest tenure ever, behind only Kenesaw Mountain Landis‘ term from 1921 to 1944.

“This is definitely it,” Selig told Jayson Stark of ESPN in January. “I’m more comfortable today than I was when I [announced] it in October, if that’s possible. Jan. 24, 2015, is it. And I’m very comfortable with that. I’m done.”

While Selig has had his share of ups (i.e. record attendance figures) and downs (read: the steroid era), he’ll be remembered for his progressive approach toward growing the sport into a multi-billion dollar industry that has never been more popular than it is today.

As Selig enjoys the 2014 Opening Day—potentially his final one in office—here are some candidates who could step to the plate starting in 2015.

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Bud Selig Reportedly Will Win Inaugural Commissioner Bud Selig Leadership Award

What can you get that retiring commissioner who already has everything? An award named after himself, of course.

MLB announced on Tuesday, Jan. 21 that current commissioner Bud Selig will be the first recipient of the Commissioner Bud Selig Leadership Award, per SportsCenter:

Selig is planning to retire after the 2014 season. By the time he steps down, he will have spent 22 years in the role. During his tenure, he’s had his fair share of ups and downs.    

There’s no question that Selig has done a lot right during his time as commissioner. The wild card helped create more excitement for the postseason race, he persuaded the MLBPA to agree to drug testing and teams are making untold millions more than they did before Selig took over.

Of course, there has been plenty of bad, whether it was the strike of 1994 that canceled the World Series, the infamous tie at the 2002 All-Star Game or the steroid era, of which the impact is still heavily felt.

Through it all, Selig has weathered the storm, and now that he’s on his way out as commissioner, he’s looking to pad his legacy.

News of his most recent award comes after he revealed he wanted to have a lengthy victory lap at every MLB stadium during his final season as commissioner, per ESPN’s Jayson Stark:

In fact, Selig said he would like to spend his last year as commissioner on a Mariano Rivera-type tour of all 30 major league parks, speaking not with baseball dignitaries but with fans and people who work in his sport behind the scenes.

“I want to talk to season-ticket holders and fans,” he said. “I’ve got a lot of people to thank.”

It’s unlikely that many fans will be rolling out the red carpet for Selig like they did for Rivera, but that’s not going to stop it from happening. When you run the league, you can do whatever you want.

And when there aren’t any more awards for a person to win, you just make some up.

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St. Louis Cardinals’ Signing of Jhonny Peralta Is Bad for Baseball

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman was the first to report that the St. Louis Cardinals had signed free agent Jhonny Peralta to a contract pending a team physical.

Fox Sports’ Jon Morosi was the first to report that it was a four-year deal that was just north of $52 million. Heyman later tweeted that the deal was going to be for $53 million. 

Peralta receiving $53 million from any team in MLB is a bad sign, especially when it comes from one of the marquee franchises in baseball. It pays to use PEDs in baseball. Even if you get caught, teams will still be willing to pay millions if the numbers are good. 

MLB and commissioner Bud Selig spent a lot of time investigating the Biogenesis anti-aging clinic in Florida. The investigation led to the suspension of 13 players listed in this report by Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown, including Peralta, who acknowledged taking PEDs. All 13 players received 50-game suspensions that they started serving immediately in order to complete them by the end of last season. 

Alex Rodriguez was also charged in this investigation and was given a 211-game suspension, something that he is still in the process of fighting with baseball. 

The 31-year-old Peralta is an average player who has had two above-average seasons recently in 2011 and 2013. It begs the question of when Peralta started using and if his improved numbers are solely driven by using PEDs.

In baseball’s quest to wrap up the Biogenesis investigation in a neat bow, it allowed players who served their 50-game suspensions last season to come back in time for the playoffs. Peralta came back for the Detroit Tigers and was one of their best hitters, hitting a combined .333 in the playoffs. 

Imagine if Peralta had managed to propel the Tigers to a World Series victory after serving a 50-game suspension. It would have only managed to further embarrass baseball when the focus should be on the greatness of the sport.

Peralta’s signing sends a bad signal to the rest of baseball. Cheat, be momentarily embarrassed but hit it rich when you come back. The Cardinals should want no part of adding Peralta to their young locker room. Instead, they are welcoming him with open arms. 

Until baseball understands that they need to start hitting the players where it really hurts, in the wallet, nothing is going to change. Players need to face stiffer suspensions, face postseason bans and teams should be allowed to opt-out of contracts with players who are suspended. 

Players who are suspended should also have limits on the length of contract and amount of money that a player can make after receiving a suspension from baseball. Those may sound too harsh, but until the suspensions become real deterrents, players are still going to find ways to cheat, because the benefits still outweigh the negatives. 

Cheating still pays. It’s the only message that you can see from Peralta’s contract. One that other players and fans can easily see. 


Information used from Jon Heyman/CBS Sports, Jon Morosi/Fox Sports, Jon Heyman/CBS Sports, Baseball Reference, Tim Brown/Yahoo Sports

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Mark Cuban Proclaims MLB Is Just Bud Selig’s Mafia on ‘The Tonight Show’

Bud Selig lives the thug life—at least that’s the word from disgruntled Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban

The NBA owner spoke with Jay Leno on Thursday’s The Tonight Show and discussed a great many things, most of which did little to help his cause to one day own an MLB franchise. 

The video posted covers what he has to say about the MLB commissioner and the suspension levied against Yankees star Alex Rodriguez

The Dallas Morning News transcribed Cuban’s thoughts on Rodriguez’s suspension: 

Horrible. I think it’s disgraceful what major league baseball is trying to do to him. Not that he doesn’t deserve to be suspended. He does. But they have policies in place, first-time offender 50 games, second time a 100. 214 games? That’s personal. 

It should be noted Rodriguez has been suspended 211 games—a suspension he formally appealed on Wednesday, allowing him an opportunity to play out the rest of the season. 

Cuban then went on to recount the time he attempted to bid for the Texas Rangers. As ESPN reminds us, the successful Mavericks owner bid $1.3 billion for the Cubs in 2008 but was not allowed into the final bidding process the following year. 

He then attempted to procure the Rangers with a bid of $600 million to no avail—giving him a sense the majors are indeed a “good ol‘ boys” club, and he doesn’t mind sharing that sentiment

We don’t pretend to know exactly why Selig or MLB officials would apparently shun Cuban. It’s clear the outspoken Mavericks owner, who is known to chirp at NBA referees, would bring a voice and persona that, while beloved by fans, might make the league uncomfortable. 

Of course, that is all conjecture, much the same as Cuban’s sentiments that Selig is not a man who likes to be tested. 

In an odd turn, Rodriguez has an ally in Cuban. Unfortunately for the Yankees star, that doesn’t help his cause, because Selig doesn’t seem to be all that fond of the Cubes. 


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Bud Selig Believes MLB’s Drug Penalties Should Be More Strict

MLB has heightened awareness and discipline for performance-enhancing drugs.  Bud Selig wants penalties for offenders to be even fiercer.

That’s the latest from Bob Nightengale of USA Today, who reports that baseball’s commissioner is ready to start stiffening what’s already a “three strikes and you’re out” program for violators of MLB’s PED policies.

Although Selig did not fully elaborate on what those penalties would be or how they would be enforced, Selig noted that sweeping changes are coming, and coming fast:

My view is that it should be done as expeditiously as possible…We’ve made meaningful adjustments to our testing and now the time has come to make meaningful adjustments to our penalties. I feel very strongly about this. This is for the best interest of this sport, and everybody in it.

MLB’s current system gives players three chances to avoid using steroids and other drugs on the league’s banned list of substances (via MLB.com).

The first offense merits a 50-game suspension, the second a 100-game ban and the third offense could invoke a lifetime ban from professional baseball. As noted by CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, Selig is looking to up the first offense penalty and thinks three strikes is far too many—among other potential changes:

Although current penalties are tenfold better than what they were at the height of the Mark McGwire/Barry Bonds scandals, they still give plenty of room to offenders looking to fool the system.

Recent stories of PED use in baseball haven’t helped dissuade that opinion.

Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun, Nelson Cruz and others made headlines during the offseason for their alleged involvement in a Miami clinic (via the Miami New-Times) that specialized in cheating the system, and each is undergoing an extensive review process by MLB as a result.

Additionally, Melky Cabrera was a National League MVP candidate last season for the San Francisco Giants before the discovery of PEDs in his system. Now, his stellar season is under fire, and there are some that don’t believe his improvement had anything to do with baseball skill—just steroids.

Selig is out to make sure his players are punished for cheating.

MLB has drawn heat for not acting sooner when it knew of cheating, but it appears the baseball commissioner will do everything in his power to heighten awareness, prove that the league is trying to get rid of steroids for good and hopefully scare off those interested in juicing in the process.

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MLB & PED’s: How to Prevent and Then Punish Positive Tests Like Ryan Braun

Over the past several years, baseball has proven with multiple reports and documents that it still has further to go in order to rid the sport of performance enhancing drugs. 

First time offenders in baseball currently receive a 50-game suspension, second-time offenders receive a 100-game suspension, and a third-time offender is banished from baseball. 

While this may deter a handful of players, it definitely does not deter all players.  With the different masking agents and assistance of personal physicians, athletes are slipping by the current testing methods.

The risk of being caught currently does not outweigh the benefits that are reaped from performing at the Major League level.  Contracts for everyday players are in the millions, and if you are an all-star you could be looking at anywhere from 10-20 million a season.   

Melky Cabrera gets caught on a one year deal with the Giants where he was arguably the mid-season NL MVP and was looking like he was in line for a mammoth contract extension where he would have seen more than $10 million per season over the next 5 years, and still came away after his drama with a 2-year, $16 million deal from the Blue Jays

Last off-season, Ryan Braun had a positive test, fought the system, and avoided his 50-game suspension.  With the recent Bio-genesis reports that are being released, it appears he is deeper in the PED underground than previously thought. 

I believe MLB could handle this ongoing issue with some of baseball’s best players by trying a few different things.


Blood Testing During Season

The most recent collective bargaining agreement from the Players Union and Major League Baseball will include blood testing for human growth hormone only for spring training and offseason. 

While this helps, HGH is not going to be used during this time frame.  HGH is being used to help players recover from injuries and stay fresh during the long season.  Players during spring training are already fresh from the off season. 

Baseball is not jumping two feet into this new testing to study the effects on the players, however if you aren’t willing to be all in, do not commit yourself to the pot. Baseball will be the first of the four major U.S. sports to incorporate any blood testing into their testing program. 

Why was the Players Union so headstrong as to not allowing it during the season? Because that’s when players will be using the HGH. You do not go to the store unless you know it is open. 

Major League Baseball is taking baby steps in getting their end result which is full testing, but the owners should be pushing this harder in order to protect their investments and know what they are actually investing in.  If you knew a stock was only worth 40 bucks and it is on the market for 50 bucks, you wouldn’t buy it—just like you wouldn’t pay a 40 HR player the same as a 10 HR player.


2.)  Increase Testing

Going hand in hand with the blood testing, the athletes need to be tested more often. 

Athletes in their contract years and rising through the minor leagues especially need additional testing.  The main reason the players are cheating is for a huge pay day, and the athletes that are the closest to that money will break the rules in order to break the bank. 

Players at the AAA level in 2012 earned slightly over $2,000 a month assuming that it was not their first year in AAA and did not receive large signing bonuses. A major league minimum salary in 2012 was $480,000 per year. 

The fact is, the borderline “4A” type players and utility players look to make huge gains just by getting onto the major league roster and sticking there.  If you show promise in the upper levels of the minors they will generally give you a shot, and the longer you stick around the longer you make nearly a half million dollars per year. 

The players in the top levels of the minor league system and especially guys in the final year of their contract should receive additional testing.  Testing is not cheap, but Major League Baseball is a billion business and the way to keep fans in the stands is to protect their brand and catch players. 

The worst thing for the MLB brand is to let superstars like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens get through their careers without a positive test, and then be caught from lab documents and testimonies.


 Terminating Contacts

Through the recent years, baseball has shown that the suspensions are not a big enough deterrent to eliminate PED use.  However, what if these teams were able to completely null and void these massive contracts upon one of their players failing a drug test?   Braun in 2011 signed a $105 million, five-year contract extension that added onto a seven-year deal he signed in May 2008, which resulted in $145.5 million dollars through 2020. 

What if once his positive test was revealed, the Brewers could void his remaining contract, say “see ya,” and waive him without having to eat his “guaranteed contract?”  The owners and general Managers are signing for the “enhanced” player hitting 40 home runs player and not the actual real life player that may only hit 25 home runs.

Teams are taking the risk by signing these players, and the fact of the matter is they are getting burned.  Att the time of his extension, Braun was the face of the Brewers franchise and a media darling. 

Fast forward to today. 

Braun is regarded as one of the least-liked players in all of sports.  He went from being a marketing asset for the Brewers to an alleged cheater using PEDs and then lying about it. 

The point is, these teams will sign these great players to long term deals dump all this money on them, the player will get suspended, and while they are without pay during the suspension, they come back and make their guaranteed salary for the rest of the contract. 

Even if the blood testing and additional testing does not catch all the players in their “contract year” it would still hopefully eliminate their use from then on knowing the players could lose their huge multi-year deals.


4.) Increase Suspensions

Currently the first offense for a 50-game suspension does not seem to do justice when that is less than 1/3 of a season. The first test should result in a minimum of being suspended for the year in which you tested positive, but also be a minimum of 100 games.

If you get popped in Spring Training, well, you just missed the entire season to your positive test.  If you get popped in September, you will miss the rest of the season and into the next season totaling 100 games.

A second positive test should just result in being banned. 

These players testing positive have to realize by now the severity of the testing.  As Jose Bautista mentioned in an interview this spring, there are many different resources and outlets to these players to verify if what they are putting in their bodies is allowed or not.

The fact you can get popped at the after the all-star break like Melky Cabrera did last year, and potentially could have come back for the playoffs, is not right.  Any stats or awards that were won in a season which a player tested positive should be forfeited.


While I do believe Major League Baseball is trying to push stricter testing and clean up the sport, I believe it could be accelerated greatly.  If the Players Union is serious about protecting its players—and by players, I mean “clean” players —they should have no issues with anything in this article.  Playing baseball for a living should be an honor and a privilege, not a right.

The fact that greedy players are able to cheat to get ahead of “clean” players should be dealt with an iron fist.

I will leave you with this scenario.

Suppose two men walk into a gas station and each purchase a lottery ticket.  The first man scratches off his lottery ticket and almost won, but missed on his last two numbers.  The second man scratched his off and WON the half million dollar jackpot!  When the first man found out the second man won the jackpot, he stole his ticket, he cashed the ticket in, and he received the grand prize.  Once the first man found out what happened he finally caught up with the second man getting out of his new Ferrari, and asked, “What the hell are you doing with the winnings from my ticket? That was my dream to win the lottery,” the second man replied, “Sorry, man. It happens all the time. It is called baseball.”

The above scenario would actually be illegal and make headlines.

It’s commonplace in baseball. 

Major League Baseball and the Players Union need to do all they can do to protect their clean athletes, and stop caring about the cheaters. Baseball had the blinders on when it came to drug testing over the past 25 years, but hopefully in the next 25 years it will set new standards in protecting the blue collar athlete and lead other sports into the next era.

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Did Bud Selig Punish the Marlins for Offseason Fire Sale in 2015 ASG Decision?

The Miami Marlins and owner Jeffrey Loria ticked off a lot of people by gutting their roster and trading five of their best players to the Toronto Blue Jays in one of the blockbuster deals of the offseason.

The Marlins sent shortstop Jose Reyes, starting pitchers Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle, catcher John Buck and utilityman Emilio Bonifacio to Toronto, pulling the plug on a team that was expected to contend in the NL East and bringing an abrupt end to what was supposed to be a new era of baseball in South Beach. 

Fans, commentators and fellow baseball executives were outraged at Miami for selling off talent to save money again—especially after their new ballpark was funded largely with taxpayer money. This wasn’t supposed to be how the Marlins did business anymore. No more fire sales.

The outrage and uproar over the Marlins reverting to another salary dump was loud enough that MLB commissioner Bud Selig felt compelled to review the trade and the various factors that contributed to it.  

Perhaps that was just a public relations gesture to placate furious Marlins fans (and baseball fans, in general). But there may also have been some genuine displeasure at the way Loria runs his team or at least general irritation at the Marlins embarrassing MLB. 

If it’s the latter, Selig may be enacting some indirect punishment on the Marlins by depriving them of a very big prize that any MLB team would covet.

As reported by the Cincinnati Enquirer‘s John Fay, the Cincinnati Reds and Great American Ball Park will be awarded the 2015 MLB All-Star Game. The formal announcement is expected to be made on Wednesday (Jan. 23). 

However, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald explains that the Marlins stated their intention to apply for the showcase event last March, shortly before the new Marlins Park opened to begin the 2012 season. 

With Citi Field getting the 2013 All-Star Game and Target Field being awarded the 2014 Midsummer Classic, it seemed like a natural progression to go with another of MLB’s newest ballparks for the 2015 event. 

To be fair, the Reds also have a relatively new ballpark. Great American Ball Park opened in 2003. But Cincinnati hosted the All-Star Game in 1988. Yes, that was 25 years ago, but the Marlins have never hosted the event. 

(Spencer reports that Miami was supposed to get the 2000 All-Star Game, but there was doubt over the long-term future of the franchise after the fire sale of the 1997 World Series championship team.) 

Holding the All-Star Game amidst the glitz, glamour and star power of South Beach is exactly the sort of setting MLB should seek—especially when the popularity of the sport is on shaky ground with a community that feels spurned. 

Perhaps MLB didn’t want to risk holding its showcase event in an area holding a grudge against its local team.

Even if it’s two years from now, holding the All-Star Game in Miami could bring attention to how the Marlins have conducted their business in recent years. Why rip off a scab and focus a spotlight on an embarrassing situation MLB would prefer to ignore? 

But this certainly has the appearance of a statement from Selig and MLB. Building a new ballpark is usually awarded with an All-Star Game. But if a team’s ownership brings shame to the sport, it’s not going to be allowed to profit from an event that’s supposed to be a celebration. 

Ultimately, Selig approved the Marlins trade with the Blue Jays because he didn’t really have any choice. As unseemly as shipping all of their expensive players to Toronto may have been, Miami was hardly the only team to have ever traded high-priced talent for prospects. 

From a baseball standpoint, the Marlins arguably made a good trade. Miami received two of the Blue Jays’ top 10 prospects, as rated by Baseball America, in outfielder Jake Marisnick and pitcher Justin Nicolino. Infielder Adeiny Hechavarria and pitcher Henderson Alvarez were also highly regarded young players. 

Though the trade took the Marlins out of contention for the near-future, Loria and team president David Samson could argue that they were making the best moves for their baseball team. Ownership and the front office just had no benefit of the doubt with fans, reporters and analysts because of their previous salary-dump transactions. 

But if Selig were to veto the Marlins-Blue Jays trade, who’s to say that he shouldn’t have also overturned the deal between the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers? Boston unloaded $260 million from its payroll to a team whose payroll appeared to be unlimited under new ownership.

How could the Red Sox be allowed to overhaul their roster and payroll while the Marlins doing something similar was prohibited?

Yet Selig may have found a different way to penalize the Marlins. Depriving Miami of the 2015 All-Star Game doesn’t compromise the competitive integrity of baseball, nor does it dictate how owners should run their respective franchises. 

This decision does, however, stick it to Loria. If there’s any MLB owner who deserves some sort of reprimand, it’s him.

Selig apparently found a way to put Loria in a corner. Maybe when the Marlins owner gives Miami the team it deserves—the team the city was promised—he can yield the benefits of his new ballpark. 


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