Best Bud: Columnists Praise Selig For MLB's Growth, Labor Peace
The reason MLB "has labor peace" at the moment is because Commissioner Bud Selig, "of all people, has spent the past decade setting up a system that somehow makes both players and owners happy," according to the N.Y. MAGAZINE's Will Leitch, who profiles Selig under the subhead, "Contrary to his hapless image, baseball’s chief is the most effective commissioner in sports." A month into the '11 season, MLB is "making more money than it ever has and is set up to make even more." In addition, Selig "has fostered unprecedented unanimity among the game’s 30 disparate owners; unlike in the NFL, the flowing cash has kept owners content rather than bloodthirsty." MLB is "close to passing the NFL -- the supposed Goliath of American sports -- in total revenue," reaching $6.6B for '09, just behind the NFL’s $8B. MLB's revenue in '00 was "half that." Baseball "is catching up," and it is "doing it stealthily, while achieving labor peace and competitive balance." Confident because of his "recent successes, Selig is starting to take charge more over the owners," specifically regarding the Dodgers. Leitch notes Selig "will always be a polarizing figure." But when you "clear out the public-relations gaffes and the ugly ties," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NBA Commissioner David Stern "would love to be in Selig’s position right now, with happy owners, happy players, and more fans than ever" (N.Y. MAGAZINE, 5/9 issue).
BUD, NICE: SI's Joe Posnanski also profiles Selig and writes, "Nobody has changed a sport more than he has changed baseball the last 20 years." It seems that people "never credit Selig enough for his backroom ability to twist arms, push his agenda and simply do whatever he thinks he should do." Selig said, "Yes, I know what people say about me. I try not to be sensitive about it, but I am human. I know people say that I'm indecisive or that I move slowly. But I learned a long time ago, that doesn't matter. Getting things done is what matters. You have to know how to get things done" (SI, 5/2 issue).