For those of you who do not know, and per Wikipedia, the Commissioner of Baseball is the chief executive of Major League Baseball (MLB) and its associated minor leagues – a constellation of leagues and clubs known as organized baseball. Under the direction of the Commissioner, the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball hires and maintains the sport’s umpiring crews, and negotiates marketing, labor, and television contracts. The commissioner is chosen by a vote of the owners of the teams.
The current commissioner is Bud Selig, who has been in office since 1998. Selig acted as a de facto commissioner under the title of “Chairman of the Executive Council” from 1992 to 1998, when the office of commissioner was vacant.
One of the responsibilities of the Commissioner of Baseball is to determine what might be “not in the best interests of baseball.” Back in 1951 the Commissioner’s collective bosses – MLB owners – ceded their right to having any recourse in the courts to challenge a Commissioner’s decision. This was a significant concession for the owners which became historically important in 1976 when then commissioner Bowie Kuhn rejected the selling of three players from Charlie Finley’s Oakland A’s to the Yankees as being “not in the best interests of baseball”.
As of Monday August 5, 2013 MLB will likely rule that as many as 12 players have admitted to using banned substances and will accept suspensions. MLB has taken far too long to make official what has been the worst kept secret in sports – MLB is going to suspend some players. In fact this went on before and after the MLB player trading deadline of July 31. By delaying making any announcement MLB teams like the AL Central Division leading Detroit Tigers (Jhonny Peralta’s possible suspension forced the Tigers to make a trade for Jose Iglesias with the Boston Red Sox that ended up bringing pitcher Jake Peavy to the Red Sox.). The Texas Rangers expect outfielder Nelson Cruz to be suspended and yet did not make a trade possibly indicating they will appeal the suspension. The AL Western Division leading Oakland A’s are hoping previously suspended Melky Cabrera, as well as Yasmani Grandal and Bartolo Colon will avoid a suspension and they too did not make a trade.
I am of the opinion that by delaying the announcement of suspended players MLB has forced teams to try to anticipate what might happen, and in so doing, the Commissioner is and MLB are decidedly not acting in the best interests of baseball. Fans should be talking about pennant races and the games themselves instead of when and who will be suspended. Whether you agree with the way MLB is trying to ‘clean up baseball’ or not, giving yourself a black eye in the process is both stupid and bad business. I have two questions:
1) Why do this in mid-season? Impacting teams fighting for the post-season punishes more than the player – it punishes his teammates and more importantly fans who spend their hard earned money buying tickets.
2) Does MLB really believe that in-season suspensions will more strongly convince players to desist from finding ways to get an edge?
It’s time for MLB to come up with a policy that is enforceable and in the best interests of baseball. I have no idea as to what is the policy right now do you?