05/07/2004: Bud backs down....
After hearing cries of outrage and demands that he be hung in effigy (I objected to that suggestion; why ruin a perfectly good effigy when we could just hang Bud himself?) Bud Selig decided to relent on the plan to festoon the bases with Spider-Man 2 logos at selected interleague games this summer. Quoth Bud:
I'm a traditionalist. The problem in sports marketing, particularly in baseball, is you're always walking a very sensitive line. Nobody loves tradition and history as much as I do.That piece of propaganda was answered very effectively here:
Selig's "traditionalist" credentials include interleague play, expanded playoffs, playoff games on the East Coast starting at 8:30 pm, different uniforms for every day of the week, opening day occurring in foreign nations besides Canada, presiding over the end of any semblance of competitive balance, the whoring of the sport to anyone with enough cash, and finally, tie games in the All Star Game.Most of these criticisms strike me as being spot on, though in fairness, I should point out that the "lack of competitive balance" complaint here may be misguided; Rob Neyer, in one of his recent ESPN.com columns (see also a follow up to a reader question that Rob posted this week) argued compellingly that competitive balance in baseball may be as good as (or better than) it ever was:
Please die, Bud.
If baseball were a religion, I might just be similar to an Islamic Jihadist or Spanish Inquisitor. Were Baseballism to be recognized as a religion, could I legally issue fatwas calling for the head of Bud?
If by "competitive balance" we mean that a significant number of teams have a fighting chance to win the World Series, then we're probably at an all-time high. In any given season since 1994, roughly four out of every 10 teams finished the schedule within five games of either a division title or the wild card, and that's a lot of teams.
Len on 05.07.04 @ 10:52 AM CST