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November 9, 2001

by Bill Hogan



Of course Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig supports the elimination of a few baseball teams. Bud Selig, the head of Major League Baseball, is also the owner of the Milwaukee Brewers.

Bill Gates would give his left arm, or MSNBC, to be in that position. Could you imagine if Gates was at the helm of an organization that controlled the entire computer software industry?


What a coup that would be. First order of business: "well, for the sake of the industry, it's imperative that we shut down Oracle, AOL and, what the heck, while we're at it, Netscape. I hate to do it. And, sure, it's going to bolster my companies' position in the market. But the industry is in trouble and darn it I want to do what's best for the industry.

Or as Selig put it: "Contraction is one step toward addressing the industry's problems."

One of the teams most likely to be eliminated is the Minnesota Twins. Minneapolis is only 377 miles from Milwaukee. Hey, this might boost ticket sales for the Brewers!

What a coup.

Here's a step toward addressing the industry's problems: get a real Baseball Commissioner!

Somebody that is going to do what's best for the entire baseball industry, not just the owners.

Somebody who will consider the owners, the players and - hello, people! - THE FANS!

In 1960, there were sixteen teams. In 1960, Phoenix was a desert, South Florida was a sunny place to go on your honeymoon and Toronto was some place near Siberia (I think).

There are people all over this country that want to see baseball. More baseball, not less. So what if only eight thousand fans show up each night. That's still 648,000 men, women and young children that get to go to the ballpark and root for the home team.

That's 162,000 families of four that plan on spending $150.00 on a night out at the ballpark.

What about the fans, Bud? You guys are so obsessed about how to split billions of dollars that you've lost sight of the bigger issue. And that is the fans that ultimately keep all you millionaire owners in business.

Baseball needs a Commissioner like Kenesaw Mountain Landis. Landis was the original Czar of America's pastime. He was hired by the owners on November 12, 1920.

One of Landis' first decisions as Commissioner was to ban for life the eight Chicago White Sox accused of throwing the 1919 World Series.

Don't think for a moment that, had White Sox owner Charles Comisky been appointed Commissioner, he'd have dismantled his beloved Sox "for the good of the game". No owner would have. Landis did. Landis didn't have a financial stake in the Sox, or any other team.

A month later, Landis banned for life New York Giant's outfielder Benny Kauff. Kauff was indicted for stealing a car. He was acquitted of the charge, but Landis did not reinstate Kauff - "for the good of the game".

Benny Kauff was a career .311 hitter. Landis made his point.

Baseball needs a guy like Landis today. Somebody that's going to act in the best interest of the game, not find the best way to fatten an already portly wallet.

The players are against 'downsizing' the league. They are appalled at the idea of fifty ballplayers losing their jobs.

You know, if the players were at all concerned that two cities are about to lose their team. That thousands (if not ten's of thousands) of fans are going to be dumped by the sport they love. And hundreds of minimum wage stadium workers are going to lose their jobs, I'd have a little more sympathy for them.

A hundred thousand people in New York City lost their jobs since September. Sorry if I don't feel bad about fifty overpaid, .225 hitters who won't be able to find work with another team.

Here's a tip for the 'unlucky fifty': www.goarmyreserve.com.

When the owners and players are talking strike and lockout over this and other issues concerning the proper distribution of BILLIONS of dollars, it's really hard for the average fan, like myself, to feel anything but disgust for both sides.

It's ridiculous that, a week after one of the best World Series' ever, I have to worry whether, come next spring, I'll be sitting in front of the tube cheering on my team - or weeding.

Where's Kenesaw Mountain Landis when you need him?


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