An open letter to baseball commish Bud Selig
Dearest Commissioner Bud Selig,
With news of your impending retirement emblazoned on the baseball horizon, I feel I can offer my open diatribe on your legacy. Moreover, I can sum your chronicled years with with three words: P. E. D.
Okay, those are not words. They are performance enhancing drugs, Bud Selig, but you get the idea.
Considering how much money I have spent on your sport and the anguish your minions have caused me with the ever-constant scandals in this hallowed game of baseball, I think if you see my name on an envelope, you would open it. After all, I read your finely crafted statement that ignored every controversial aspect of your reign:
“It remains my great privilege to serve the game I have loved throughout my life. Baseball is the greatest game ever invented, and I look forward to continuing its extraordinary growth and addressing several significant issues during the remainder of my term. I am grateful to the owners throughout Major League Baseball for their unwavering support and for allowing me to lead this great institution. I thank our players, who give me unlimited enthusiasm about the future of our game. Together we have taken this sport to new heights and have positioned our national pastime to thrive for generations to come. Most of all, I would like to thank our fans, who are the heart and soul of our game.”
Yeah, that’s sweet. You made owners a truckload of cash. After all, you should know how to do that, right, Mr. Brewer? Since 1992, your gangly fingers have been on some beneficial things for the game. However, your misguided Bud Selig brain have touched upon a few abrogating items in baseball too. That said, I should let you know that I have a duty as a PR professional to let you know that MLB has a serious image issue and ignoring it would be detrimental to the purists out there in the cheap seats.
And speaking of cheap seats, you tried to make the game better for the fans — at least, that was the cloak behind which you placed that plea. You opened almost two dozen mega ballparks. You tried to enforce ticketing standards for the poor folk, I believe you call them “fans.” You considered those fans paramount in 1995 when you diligently worked to end the longest strike in MLB history. Following the strike, you embraced this thing called technology and for that, we have MLB.com, MLB.tv and even the MLB Network. Nicely done, sir.
However, there are a few other items in your legacy, Bud Selig, that possesses the stink of the locker room from “The Biggest Loser.” I’m sure you recall the Biogenesis scandal that has taken over the sporting headlines. That — to put it delicately — sucked out loud. From the Andro in the locker of Mark McGwire to the Congressional finger wagging of Rafael Palmeiro to “A-Roid” and his hijinks, you, sir, have a serious image problem.
I get it — you are facing a crossroads. On one hand, there’s the sanctity of the great game — the numbers, the stats, the hallmarks of history. Leave on a high note and protect your Bud Selig tarnished image in face of MLB suspensions and no one discussing your return to Milwaukee ending in hilarity with a tie game in the 2002 All-Star glad-handing session. Good on ya’, Bud Selig. It wasn’t like anyone was watching anyway. However, on the other hand, there’s the chase to crush those numbers that puts butts in seats and eyeballs on TVs internationally. And there’s you directing traffic with white gloves on staring into the sky at the pretty birds. Probably because you won’t have to look at the heinous amount of drugs trafficking in your sport.
You boldly declared “the steroids era is a thing of the past.” And you should realize that most of the nation is calling bullsh on that, right? First of all, it took an act of Congress for you to get serious about baseball players’ heads growing multiple sizes and galloping like horses (as you were caught famously digging for gold, as seen in the enclosed picture, sir).
Following the interrogation on Capitol Hill, you rolled in a feeble attempt at “stopping” steroid abuse because the cheating was a skosh over what you were comfortable admitting. Some eight years later, big names are finally being tarnished with the HGH brush — Clemens, Bonds, Rodriguez, Braun. So, kudos?
Riddle me and the rest of the MLB universe this Bud Selig: Why in the blue hell did that take so long? In baseball, those numbers are sacrosanct. Yet, no asterisks, no explanations, no “steroid era” in Cooperstown — just a gaggle of legal speak and excuses. And you expect the fandom of baseball to continue? Not. So. Much.
Friendly advice, sir? Find the success stories in the game. Leverage the rookies who are taking the sport by storm. And swear on your mama they are clean. Then — and only then — you may gain a few brownie points from the fans. Until then, your lack of action shows a lack of investment. That lack of investment shows a lack of care. That lack of care equals less butts in your cherished seats. This is a great game, but now it has one huge black eye and there is not enough ice in all the ballparks for the swelling to go down on this one until you put a crisis communications plan into action. Your players want it. The fans demand it. You should do it.
FYI: PR is not spin control. It’s a way to create some motion when things are out of control, and right now (cough…BALCO…cough…BIOGENESIS…cough!) things are just a bit askew, wouldn’t you say? I know I would. God knows I’ve been saying it for near a decade. Otherwise, I will have to drop my allegiance to my Texas Rangers and take up soccer or some such. At least until you retire. Please don’t let that happen. That’s not the GOOOOOOOOOAAAAALLLLLL here. (Sorry, just practicing for the inevitable.)