August 1, 2006
I have finally managed to set up a convenient, straightforward way (I hope) for folks to support this Web site by sponsoring one of the stadium pages. Just click on the Sponsor page and check to see which stadiums are available. Just like last year, it's ten bucks a pop, but without discounts for multiple sponsorships. (Current sponsors have the first option to renew, for the next week or so.) Or, if you'd rather contribute a smaller amount, just click on the "Donate" button. For non-PayPal people, alternative payment mechanisms are in the works. Thank you for your past and future support!
I've been reading Andrew Zimbalist's new book In the Best Interests of Baseball: The Revolutionary Reign of Bud Selig. It was exactly eight years ago today that Bud Selig became permanent commissioner of baseball. Between 1992 and 1998 he was generally referred to by sports journalists as "acting commissioner," but that was never an official term. In fact, he was merely the the "chairman of the MLB executive council," an office that was traditionally held by the commissioner. The forced resignation of Fay Vincent in September 1992 was what brought on the strange circumstance of a franchise owner serving simultaneously as the overseer and guardian of Our National Pastime. The portrait of Selig painted by Zimbalist is hardly flattering, shedding harsh light on his hardball tactics in getting cities to pay for new stadiums. It is a fair depiction, nonetheless, calling attention to Bud's commendable political and communication skills. In spite of his weak formal position while "acting commissioner," he did manage to cajole the MLB owners into agreeing to expansion in 1998, beginning interleague play, and holding games in Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Japan. Mr. Selig has a lot to answer for, I think, but his critics need to think about who could have done any better in maintaining a semblance of unity and order in baseball.
Isn't it something how a last-place team like the Nationals can attract such a media feeding frenzy? David Pinto remains skeptical of the whole Soriano thing:
The idea that Washington would flip him for talent after his great first half made me like the original deal that brought him to the Nation's Capital a lot more. Signing him long term doesn't appeal to me at all. He's past his peak and playing for a contract. Washington's likely seen the best they're going to get from Alfonso.
As usual, Tom Boswell (Washington Post) gets it:
But even if Soriano ultimately leaves town, the Nats may have made the right choice anyway because they did the right thing for the right reasons. Many will remember it. The small loss Washington may suffer in personnel -- the difference between the good-but-not-great prospects they could have gotten yesterday and the two draft picks they'd receive as compensation if Soriano leaves -- may be dwarfed by the credibility they immediately gain with their fans, their players and their biggest star.
Exactamundo. The Lerners would do much better in attracting fans to Nats games by spending their money on a better team, not on silly ballpark amusements.