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Recent Stories Putting Black Eye on the Face of MLB

Posted on August 30, 2010 by Don Spieles

For as much as Bud Selig tries to make sure that Major League Baseball always puts its best foot forward, sometimes people just can’t seem keep from tripping him up. Here are four recent stories that make baseball look less then wonderful, one that centers on Selig, himself!

Nationals Handling of Steven Strasburg

Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg throws against the Florida Marlins during the fourth inning of MLB National League baseball action in Washington in this August 10, 2010 file photo. According to the team's website, Strasburg has a significant tear in his ulnar collateral ligament will likely require Tommy John surgery, the team announced in a conference call on August 27, 2010. Picture taken August 10, 2010.  REUTERS/Larry Downing (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)As a friend said to me recently, “Well, that was short-lived.” He was, of course, speaking about Strasburg’s time on the MLB stage. Many (including your truly) predicted that Strasburg would not see the big show this year at all. Now that the young ace is scheduled for Tommy John surgery and will be missing possibly until the 2012 season, perhaps the Nationals brass is wishing that those predictions had proven accurate.

You certainly don’t have to look far to find success stories related to what is perhaps the most well known surgical procedure after a tonsillectomy. Some notable names who have made the papers after the procedures include Kenny Rogers, Tim Hudson, Chris Carpenter, John Smoltz, and Mariano Rivera. There is no reason to be overly pessimistic about Strasburg’s furture.

The bottom line is that his career need not have started with this setback. They monitored his pitches, innings, and all of that. But what was not taken into account (or so it would seem) is that there is a huge difference in throwing in front of 5,000 fans in a minor league game, and then throwing in front of 50,000 fans on a national stage. Especially when the pitcher in question throws as hard as Starsburg does.

Roger Clemens Indicted Roger Clemens is sworn in to testify before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing on The Mitchell Report: The Illegal Use of Steroids in Major League Baseball on Capitol Hill in Washington, in this February 13, 2008 file photo. The former baseball pitching star will be arraigned on Monday on charges he lied to the U.S. Congress about his use of drugs to boost his performance, according to a schedule issued on August 26.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/Files (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS SPORT BASEBALL LAW)

The term “pathological liar” is thrown around a lot in the media, but not so much so as in the case of Roger “The Rocket” Clemens. Perhaps what Roger Clemens really suffers from, though, would be False Memory Syndrome. ( Roger doesn’t lie about everything. If two people ask him the same question at different times, he will usually not change his story. He really seems to believes the stories he puts forth to be the truth, not matter who or what evidence come to refute. Now Clemens is going to be on trial for perjury based on his testimony from 2008 before Congress, where both his former trainer and his former best friend “misremembered” things that contradicted Roger’s reality.

This is not, of course, the first time that Roger has had a skewed version of reality. Remember in 2000 when Roger and the Yankees played Mike Piazza and the Mets? Do you also remember that Mike and Roger had some bad blood over some chin music that Roger had offered Mike during the season? When Piazza hit a broken bat dribbler to short, Roger picked up the heavy end of the broken bat and threw it at Piazza as he trotted in the direction of first. When asked, Roger stated that he thought he had the ball in his hand.

Really. That is what he said. If I were on the prosecution, I’d show that film to start every morning while presenting my case.

Manny Ramirez Last Dodger AB
Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Manny Ramirez waves to fans at Coors Field on August 27, 2010 in Denver. Los Angeles and Colorado are still in the National League Wild Card race. UPI/Gary C. Caskey Photo via Newscom Manny is back in the news. Having been put out on waivers by the Dodgers, the Man-Ram was picked up by the Chicago White Sox in hopes that he bat will help them close the 4 1/2 game deficit they have in the AL Central. That is certainly possible, if the right Manny shows up. They don’t want the Manny that left the Dodgers yesterday. That Manny came to the plate with the bases loaded, Dodgers down by six runs, and took a ball. The umpire called it a strike, as umpires often do, and Manny got himself thrown out of the game arguing. It was a ball, no argument with Manny there, but come on!

Chicago may get a good September out of Manny. With a little luck, he may even get a few October games to influence. What the White Sox must not do is fall into the trap that the Dodgers did after the 2008 season. Whether Manny never hits a home run in a White Sox uniform or whether he sets new September records for home runs, RBI, slugging, and wad-of-chewing-tobacco-size, the White Sox should not resign him for 2011. Manny is 38, injury prone, less productive, but. more importantly, he is still an unprofessional, childlike distraction. Regardless, it should prove interesting to see how a dugout with Manny and Ozzie Guillen operates!

Bud Selig Statue

Last week, the commissioner was on hand for the unveiling of a new statue outside Miller Park in Milwaukee. There where many baseball dignitaries on hand, including Al Kaline, Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks, and Rollie Fingers. Many sports figures from around the area and country (Dick Ebersol of NBC Sports, Jackie Robinson’s widow, Rachael, and Joe Torre and his brother Frank, to name a few) as well as representatives from almost every team in the league. A statue of Major League Baseball Commissioner Allan H. Bud Selig stands in front of Miller Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin August 25, 2010. The statue was unveiled on Wednesday.  REUTERS/Allen Fredrickson  (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

It was truly a “Kodak Moment”.  Except for one thing. The statue was of Bud, himself.

It should be noted that the statue is not to commemorate how Bud played both sides of the fence while he was first commissioner and Brewers owner (as in when he recommended the contraction of the league, and in the Twins and Expos, two of his closest competitors for fan base). The statue was not to commemorate his flat affect, his inability to deal with anything important in baseball until forced to by Congress, or the way he rams Jackie Robinson down our throats every blessed chance he gets, but never mentions Larry Doby, Pumpsie Green, or any of the other African-American players of the 40’s and 50’s who were treated as bad if not worse.

He is, instead, being commemorated for bringing the Brewers to Milwaukee after the Braves left.

This is the silliest statue in front of a sports venue since they placed the “Rocky” statue in front of the Philadelphia Spectrum. In fact, it’s worse. Rocky was fictional, but at least he had some character.

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