Last month, Sons of Steve Garvey posted an editorial titled "Hit the Road, Bud (Why Wait until 2009)," opining, "[Bud] Selig is nothing short of the lamest commissioner in MLB's history."
SI.com's John Heyman feels differently, lauding Selig in "Rewriting history: Selig finally appreciated for his work as commissioner":
The sport moved at a glacial pace for decades, then he came in and introduced revenue sharing, a luxury tax, realignment and the wild card, to name a few things....
Twelve years ago, folks thought Selig and his cohorts were about to bring the ruination to baseball. Instead, baseball is thriving like never before. The sport set an attendance record for a second straight season, by exceeding 76 million fans. The $3 billion TV contract is the biggest ever.
Selig has been telling us for a few years now that baseball is in its golden age, and it's impossible to argue now. "Revenues have exploded,'' Selig said. Indeed, revenues are up, from $1.2 billion to a whopping $5.2 billion since he took office a decade and a half ago as a supposed interim, temporary commissioner.
As for steroids:
Baseball's lone controversy involves the steroid mess that's now been answered with a stringent drug policy, thanks to Selig pushing a previously resistant players' union to accept frequent, unannounced testing and tough penalties. It's easy to point a finger at Selig and say he should have pushed sooner, but the sport had already survived one disruption and he wasn't about to abide by another one in 2002, so he accepted a thin new steroid policy survey that at least put users on notice and got things going. Now baseball has professional sports' toughest drug policy. If it's too late to save the whole record book, it's still a major coup.
And I hate to break it to the Selig-haters, but...
Selig has not wavered on his retirement schedule, although some of his friends doubt whether he'll ever go through with it, and I do too. One predicted a four-year extension the other day, not a month after Selig reiterated his retirement claim. By 2009 he will be more beloved than Tagliabue. He should be now.