Main Sections:
Main Site
Discussion Forum
    All Topics
    New Messages
    Search
    Last Day
    Last Week
    Tree View
    Edit Profile
    Create Login
    Guidelines
    Help
Game Chat
Fund Raiser:
Order Merchandise!

Suggested Reading:
(click cover for info)

cover

ESPN.com's Caple rips Selig/contraction again

OAFC BBS - All Topics: Archive: ESPN.com's Caple rips Selig/contraction again
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By chris_d on Wednesday, February 06, 2002 - 01:54 pm:

http://espn.go.com/mlb/columns/caple_jim/1323573.html

Updated: February 6, 1:38 PM ET

Selig's bright idea gives baseball a black eye

By Jim Caple
ESPN.com

This just in: Commissioner Bud Selig announced Tuesday that he was only kidding, that baseball won't eliminate two teams this year after all. So, go out and have a great season you Twins and Expos. Hope this whole contraction thing hasn't hurt ticket sales.

Everyone knew since December that Selig could not possibly pull off his elimination plan this season, but waiting for him to admit the obvious was as excruciating as waiting for Chuck Knoblauch to get back in the batter's box. Selig first said it would happen by mid-November, then mid-December, then possibly February. And even with spring training fast approaching with the speed of Ichiro running down the first-base line, he stubbornly maintained baseball could kill off two teams right up to Opening Day, a claim that had all the validity of Cubs fans shouting, "Wait 'til next year!"

Besides being a disgraceful idea, Selig's elimination scheme provided no clear financial benefit to the remaining teams. It has, however, placed additional pressure on Minnesota taxpayers to build a new stadium for a billionaire owner, which likely was the original and only goal of the proposal in the first place.

Unfortunately, when Selig finally acknowledged what was self-evident, it provided only a measure of relief for Twins and Expos fans and employees. That's because he still is threatening to eliminate two teams in 2003 and the most likely targets remain the Twins and Expos. And this time, he says, he really, really means it.

In other words, while Selig provided fans and employees a slim, silver lining to a grim winter, he made sure it was attached to a pair of mushroom clouds.

The Expos already have two feet in the grave (they may not even have an owner in two weeks, let alone a manager) but the Twins spent much of 2001 in first place and are one of the favorites to win the AL Central this season. That could lead to the very real possibility in which Selig attempts to kill off a team after it competes in the 2002 postseason. His own team, meanwhile, has gone a decade since its last winning season and two decades since its last postseason appearance ... but I digress.

That would appear to be an embarrassing scenario for baseball but I don't think anything embarrasses Selig and his owners anymore. It would be easier to swallow a resin bag than the half-baked stories and plans Selig has issued this winter. Contraction, $519 million in losses, compromising loans between owners, the league running the Expos ... Selig just keeps coming out with whoppers more outlandish than the preceding ones.

Besides being a disgraceful idea, Selig's elimination scheme provided no clear financial benefit to the remaining teams. It has, however, placed additional pressure on Minnesota taxpayers to build a new stadium for a billionaire owner, which likely was the original and only goal of the proposal in the first place.

Worse, the scheme significantly set back negotiations with the Players' Association. Rather than work out a deal with the union that would address and possibly solve the real financial problems facing baseball, Selig focused on an elimination plan that had no chance once the first court decision ruled against baseball. Contraction merely gave the players and owners just one more thing to complain about -- as if there was any shortage. But at least when a labor stoppage finally occurs, we'll know who to blame.

Contraction was baseball's worst idea since bullpen carts. In short, it had no chance of ever being enacted, alienated fans, embarrassed the game and crippled offseason negotiations, damaged ticket sales and worsened economic conditions for several teams while wasting the time of everyone who should have been working on far more important matters.

Other than that, however, it was a great idea. Which is why Selig is intent on pursuing it for 2003.

In other words, we'll be going through this whole thing again next year. When it still won't make any sense or be any more defensible.

Jim Caple is a senior writer for ESPN.com.


Posting is currently disabled in this topic. Contact your discussion moderator for more information.


 

Questions? Comments? Corrections? Please contact info@oaklandfans.com.