Tuesday, July 10, 2012

This Bud's For The Birds

When his tenure finally draws to an end, Bud Selig will have overseen many changes in MLB, most of them for the worse. 

Heading the list will be interleague play, that now annual phenomenon whereby teams from the AL and NL mix it up.  It was novel but unnecessary at the beginning.  Today, it is merely unnecessary.  Among its greatest victims is the All Star game, the only game of its kind in major league sports that once excited the fans and players alike.

Number two on the list is the awarding of home field advantage in the WS to the winning league of the AS game.  Bud and his minions decided that the only way to make the players go all out was to have something more than bragging rights be the prize.  All but approximately three of the participants in any AS game give a damn about the home field advantage since the remaining players never benefit.  The AS game is more about incentive clauses in contracts, endorsements and video recorders.  I'm sure a few of the players, like a Carlos Ruiz, are thrilled to be chosen, but for many of the players it's probably a toss up as to whether o not they'd prefer the days off.

When I was a kid, the AS game was a real heated affair, with league partisans on each side glued to their tv sets and radios awaiting the outcome.  Living in Baltimore, I never saw NL players live, but friends and relatives living in NL cities would forever remind me of their superiority.  during most of my youth the NL dominated play even though the WS outcomes were more equally divided.

No one feels that way today.  It's all too homogenized.  Being awarded home field advantage is a big deal, but it worked better in the old days when the leagues rotated the privilege.  Today, like the DH, imbalance between the leagues is preferred and television revenues rule all.  Well, Neilsen, here's one set that won't be tuned in!