Ol’ Bud Selig just can’t keep up with the steroid scandals. Evidently they’ve been coming too thick & fast for him, since he’s only now dealing with the fallout from Barry Bonds’ ascension into the role of home run king. Selig claims that he fully intends to investigate stripping Bonds of the record and re-instating the previous king, his close personal friend Hank Aaron.
The news today comes from the ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, which is following up on a story that really got rolling when U.S.A. TODAY’s Christine Brennan made a case for Selig to throw Bonds’ marks out of the record books. To alter baseball’s official records, Selig would have to call on a commissioner’s power to “make decisions in the best interest of baseball,” which is exactly what commissioner Ford Frick used to put an asterisk next to Roger Maris’ single-season home run record.
Obviously, the real question is where this would possibly stop. If you strip Bonds’ record, don’t you also have to strip the single-season marks he, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa put up, all which are totals that outstrip Maris’s previou record? Once Selig overturns one record, he’ll have to seriously consider changing every single mark in the book. It’s a Herculean task that may never end. Ever.
Now, Selig does have one thing going for him: Public opinion. In a poll hosted on the page of the JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION story we linked to above, a full 85 percent of readers said they considered Aaron the true home run king. But even that public opinion undermines Selig’s urgency to a certain extent. What’s the rush to strip Bonds of the title if no one feels he’s the real home run champion anyway?
Clearly, no matter what he does in the end, there’s one clear loser from this whole incident: Selig himself. By waiting two years to act, and then wading forward indecisively, Selig is showing the exact tendencies that make everyday Americans hate him. From tied All-Star Games to indecision over the true home run king, Selig is paid more to not make decisions than almost anyone is to do anything else. That’s just a slap to the face of baseball fans everywhere.