Archive for June 4th, 2010

Prior to Game 3 of the 2005 World Serious between the ‘Stros and the White Sox, the Commissioner of Major League Baseball Bud Selig decided that the roof would be open during Game 3 because the Commissioner felt that 42,000 ‘Stros screaming fans in an enclosed stadium would give the team an unfair advantage after Cardinal Skipper Tony LaRussa’s complaints during the NLCS against the ‘Stros.   Despite protestations from H-Town fans, Game 3 was played under the skies and it was cold and uncomfortable.  We ended up losing in extra innings and got swept the next night in Game 4 with the roof open.   Who knows what would have happened if the roof would have been closed?  I know it would have been a lot warmer and maybe louder fans would have help bring us a win.  Maybe the Serious would have gone to six or seven games and MLB would have made a few extra mil from their TV deal with Fox.  The point is the Commissioner had the only vote on this matter.  My pal Drayton didn’t have a vote, just an opinion.

In 2008, with the ‘Stros in the thick of the Wild Card hunt, Hurricane Ike blew in on a Friday evening forcing postponement of a key three game weekend series with the Cubbies at The Yard.  We all know what happened.  Commissioner Selig coldly ordered the ‘Stros to get on an airplane less than 36 hours after Ike blew in and fly to Milwaukee to play two against the Cubbies in what became known to ‘Stros fans as the Ike Games. Commissioner Selig probably could have shown a little compassion that weekend, postpone the series, and let the team deal with Ike related issues before boarding a plane to Florida the next Monday and resume the schedule and then figuring out how to make up the Cubbie series.  The Commissioner had the only vote on this matter.  The ‘Stros didn’t have a vote, just an opinion.

The past 36 hours the news from the sports world has been dominated by the perfect game that got away.  Baseball great Ken Griffey, Jr. just retired.  The World Cup starts in less than two weeks.  The two greatest NBA franchises – the Celtics and Lakers – are playing in the finals.  Tiger is back on the course and the ‘Stros just won three in a row but everyone is still talking about MLB umpire Jim Joyce blowing a two-out top of the ninth inning call that robbed Tiger pitcher Armando Galarraga of a perfect game.  Yesterday, sports talk show hosts, sports columnists, sports talking heads, and others from throughout the country weighed in and called for Commissioner Selig to step in and use his powers to overturn the blown call and award Galarraga his perfect game and a place in baseball history.  The Commissioner announced that he would not be stepping in.  Commentary certainly understands and respects those that want the call overturned.  The point is once again is the Commissioner had the only vote on this matter.  Those for a call overturn didn’t have a vote, just an opinion.

How many folks have served as MLB Commissioner?

MLB first got a Commissioner after the Black Sox gambling scandal of the 1919 World Serious.  The first Commissioner told the owners that in order to do his job well he needed unlimited powers.  In other words, he wasn’t going to have to get permission from the owners on a lot of decisions that he thought were good for the game and the rest is history.

Nine of course have served as MLB Commissioner and they are Kenesaw Mountain Landis (1920–1944), A. B. "Happy" Chandler, Sr. (1945–1951), Ford Frick (1951–1965), William Eckert (1965–1968), Bowie Kuhn (1969–1984), Peter Ueberroth (1984–1989), Bart Giamatti (1989), Fay Vincent (1989–1992), and Bud Selig (1998–present).

Even though the Commissioner has pi__ed me off a few times, I think MLB’s structure has done OK.  For instance, I’d hate to see the owners convene for a special meeting to review umpire Jim Joyce’s call.   The current MLB power structure has been in place for 90 years.  It’s not perfect but for now a democracy of one is one that is working.  To those that say the Joyce call should be overturned to protect the integrity of the game, I think you are being too dramatic.  Tomorrow, the sun will come up, line-up cards will be filled out and exchanged, batting practice will take place, players will sign autographs, folks will keep score, and Commentary might snag his first foul ball of the season.  In future baseball conversations, on occasion, Jim Joyce and Armando Gallaraga will be hot topics.  Let’s play ball!

I’m certainly not going to make a big deal about taking three of four from the Nationals.  I just like that we are playing better baseball even though we are a paltry 20-34.  The Cubbies and their miserable fans are in for three so let’s see what happens.  The first 10,000 fans tomorrow (Saturday) get a Jimmy Wynn bobblehead. 

By the way, I think Galarraga already has his place in baseball history just like Pirate pitcher Harvey Haddix pitching 12 perfect innings in 1959 against the Braves but losing in the thirteenth inning thus getting denied a perfect game.


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