added 2/10/2009 by Scott Barzilla
As some of you know, I have a new nickname for Bud Selig. Unfortunately, polite company doesn't allow me to publish the full nickname. So, we'll just call him Backwoods Bud knowing full well that a word is missing between Backwoods and Bud. It is amazing to me that some people still praise this guy. Baseball would be a lot better off if he were hogtied and sequestered in a broom closet somewhere.
Naturally, the Arod situation has everyone up in arms. Arod in this case inspires equal amounts of contempt and pity because of the situation he is in. Yes, like Rafael Palmeiro he sat there and denied steroid use only to be caught. To his credit, he didn't run and hide like Palmeiro, but he didn't exactly face the music. He directed his anger at the woman who broke the story. It's was almost as if he was saying, "yeah, she was right, but she shouldn't have broken the story." Unfortunately, this is where the pity comes in.
The tests in 2003 were designed to see what the scope of the problem was. They were never designed to out steroid users at that time. Naturally, when you consider 104 positive tests in an industry of 750 employees you can guess that some big names would wind up being in there. Still, in their efforts to get Bonds and BALCO, the Justice Department took all 104 samples. It was only a matter of time before some jackass in the Justice Department leaked a name.
Backwoods Bud could have avoided all of this by instructing that the samples be destroyed and the names erased once those players were informed. Naturally, Bud also must have known that the Mitchell Report was incomplete when it came out. Yet, he continued to hound the identified users with all of the restraint of an alcoholic at the Jack Daniels factory. Arod proves the Report was no better than incomplete and possibly on the level of farce. Meanwhile, we can probably expect the Justice Department to leak names one at a time until they get to players no one cares about.
If the nickname Backwoods Bud makes you harken to the scenes in Deliverance then the nickname is apt. First, Bud ignored the obvious in the 1990s. Then, he tried a half-hearted attempt at testing. Then, he commissioned the most ludicrous report known to man. After that report just blew up in his face he is hoping that everyone will just drop out. Well Bud, there are no more five martini international tournaments to plan. Either you get Olympic type testing or you just admit that your sport will never really catch the juicers.
Baseball has officially taken hostage by the needle. Lance Berkman called for all 104 names to be released. You have to see his obvious rage at this point. When the games very best players are found to be cheaters it makes the tier right under them look more suspcious. Would anyone really be surprised if Albert Pujols were next? Meanwhile, players we believe to be clean could be swept away in a cloud of suspicion.
Some will point out that the game has always had cheaters. That is true. Who knows what would have happened had Bowie Kuhn commissioned a report on vaseline balls and greenies. Would we look at Gaylord Perry different today if he were listed in a report as opposed to being someone we just knew cheated without direct proof? If we discovered that Hank Aaron took amphetamines would it call his home run record into question? In the grand scheme of things I am more of a pragmatist than anything else. However, at some point we have to wonder if what we are seeing is real.
I suppose most of us would trade a league leader of 39 home runs for knowing that those home runs were legitimate. We'd also trade a real commissioner for one that comes up with five martini solutions to problems that don't really exist. Meanwhile, the game's biggest problem of the last quarter century isn't quite behind us. Maybe Backwoods Bud could have focused on that instead of on ruining the all-star game. Maybe he could have focused on that instead of focusing on ways to get third and fourth generation Americans to qualify as Dutchmen or Italians. Maybe he should just go home and let a sober minded person tackle the problems of the sport.