Sometimes the commissioner of Major League Baseball needs to make radical decisions. One of those times is here for the current commish, Bud Selig.
When Selig took office as the acting commissioner in 1992, he was looked on almost as a progressive. Someone who was going to take baseball to greater heights as the new millennium approached.
It started out great, too.
Although Selig couldn't avoid the 1994 strike, nor the cancellation of that season's World Series, he did provide a lot of innovation that are now looked upon as fantastic moves.
He helped introduce the wild card.
He started interleague play, which might not be perfect but is definitely fan-friendly.
Despite the embarrassment of the 2002 All-Star Game which ended in an 11th-inning tie (and ironically in Selig's home city of Milwaukee,) he re-energized the midseason classic by declaring that the winning team would host the World Series for that same season.
Unfortunately, none of that will be used to define Selig's reign as the commissioner.
Instead it will be defined by steroids, Barry Bonds, the Mitchell Report, and now, Alex Rodriguez.
I was in high school in 1998 when it all began.
A huge Cubs fan and Cardinals hater, the home run race between Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire was arguably the most exhilarating experience as a fan. I was watching every day to see if my Sammy was going to hit another home run.
That home run battle gave a shot in the arm (pun intended) to Major League Baseball, which hadn't yet recovered from the strike.
Attendance was either awful or mediocre, depending on what city you lived in. Television ratings were way down, and the sport had lost the fans' trust and love.
The Sosa-McGwire race filled the stadiums again, but it wasn't just them.
Ken Griffey Jr. and Greg Vaughn both hit over 50 home runs. Albert Belle hit 49 and Jose Canseco had 46.
Balls were flying out of the parks and we loved it. We ate it up.
Personally, I was too young to ask "Why?"
I was just happy that my favorite sport as a kid was alive and well again. I don't think I was alone.
Now I'm ashamed of myself for being so naive and again, I don't think I'm alone.
We're all guilty of this. Every one of us who cheered for Sosa, McGwire, Bonds, or Canseco. Apparently even you A-Rod fans.
We're all just like Selig. We wanted the sport to get better and we got it.
We didn't want to know why, we didn't care. What we didn't know didn't hurt us.
Now, the hypocrites inside of us want justice. We found out what the Soylent Green was made of and now we're outraged.
I feel sorry for Mr. Selig, I really do. He got blindsided too, but not by steroids. By us.
We needed a scapegoat for our own indiscretions of naivety, and who better than the guy in charge?
We keep talking about moving on, and we want to know when the end is in sight. Bud Selig is the only person that can give us the necessary closure.
The Mitchell Report needs to be set on fire. Congress needs to stick to politics, especially in these terrible times. And we need to stop getting test results from the past.
Who cares what happened in 1998 or 2002 or 2005?
I want to make sure that my son grows up loving the same game I did. It's time to stop talking about the past and start talking about the future.
Major League Baseball and Commissioner Bud Selig have had a long enough relationship, and its time for baseball to move on.
It's time to get our own Roger Goodell, who will cut his own paycheck to set an example.
Bud Selig and his tenure as commissioner will forever be tarnished with a syringe.
It's for that very reason that he will only fail in his attempts to clean up the sport. It's time for a new era in baseball.
It's time for a steroid-free game.
It's time for Bud to prove to us that he loves the game of baseball. By walking away and letting someone else take up the reigns.
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