I was watching Glengarry Glen Ross the other night, and it finally clicked who Bud Selig reminds me of: Dave Moss, the sad sack salesman played by Ed Harris. Nothing is ever his fault, and the only thing keeping him from being a success are other people and the fates conspiring against him.
Take the whole mess involving MLB moving a critical series between the Astros and the Cubs to Milwaukee following Hurricane Ike. The HOUSTON CHRONICLE reports that on the same day that MLB announced a $500,000 donation to Hurricane Ike relief funds, they also took out a full-page ad in the paper to respond to criticism by Houston fans over moving the game so close to Chicago.
In the ad, Selig says that “all of us involved in the decision regret the frustration the Astros and their fans felt about playing two games in Milwaukee” but he stop short of apologizing. Instead, he spread the blame all over the place: domed stadiums in the Midwest weren’t available, he didn’t want to move the game to the West Coast because the Astros had to then travel to Florida, the list of other alternatives was accidentally shredded. You get the idea.
It was possible to give the patented Bug Selig All-Star Game Shrug while typing the copy to this ad, Selig would have been doing it. You can practically smell the flop sweat on the news print.
Still, the game was only moved to Milwaukee, not the Outer Levels of Hades, and the Astros could have gone out and used their anger at having the game moved to the Cubs’ backyard as a motivational tool. Instead, they lost both games (including getting no-hit) and have used this as their default excuse for why they are almost out of the wild card race.
But the last time I checked, moving the Cubs series to Milwaukee had nothing to do with getting swept in the following three-game series against the Marlins. If people are going to get on Bud Selig for making too many excuses, maybe they need to do the same for the Astros and their fans. I think Lance Berkman has it right:
“You can only use that as an excuse for so long why we are where we are,” Berkman said. “We went up there, and there’s 90 feet between the bases up there at Miller Park) just like there was at home. There was a hostile crowd, but we won three games from the Cubs at Wrigley, so it’s no excuse.”
In short, spend less time creating snarky, anti-Bud Selig T-shirts, and more time worrying about winning games.