The 2007 Major League Baseball season official starts this Sunday, and I’m positively giddy! Here to curtail my excitement is none other than MLB Commissioner, and former Bugle Boy Jeans model, Bud Selig. Mr. Selig has agreed to sit down with us under the conditions that a) I specify that none of the following is remotely true, and b) I do not use the words “human,” “growth,” and “hormone” consecutively. So, there. Done and done. Now let’s get on with The Show. (Get it? The Show? Whatever…)
Me: Mr. Selig, welcome!
Bud Selig: Thanks for having me.
Me: Ya’ know, Bud, I gotta tell you, you’ve always reminded me of one of the Three Stooges, except much older, and ganglier. Not the fat one, but one of the other ones. Did anyone else ever tell you that?
Selig: No, but that’s a nice way to start an interview.
Me: I think it has a lot to do with your bowl haircut. I’m just saying.
Me: Bud, let’s start with the bad news. During your Reign of Terror as commissioner, you oversaw the strike and subsequent cancellation of the World Series in 1994, the oddity of the 2002 All-Star Game tie - which you eventually made even worse by awarding the winner home field advantage in the World Series – the proposed contraction of both the Twins and Expos, Albert Belle, and, of course, the ongoing steroid controversy, which, at this rate, should get resolved around…never. Please explain yourself.
Selig: Well, for one thing, a lot of those issues were out of my control. For example, the work stoppage of ’94 had a lot to do with the Player’s Association refusing to come to the table to work out an agreement. And I can’t really be held responsible for Albert Belle. Plus, you’re neglecting to mention the positives of my tenure, such as the Wild Card, which has been one of the most influential implementations in baseball history.
Me: I must say, I’ve never seen anyone literally pat himself on the back during an interview. You have long arms.
Selig: I do, yes.
Me: But Bud, isn’t your Wild Card “idea” cancelled out by the fact that 240-lb, acne-bursting steroid abusers have helped their respective teams earn Wild Card berths? I call it a wash.
Selig: You’re also forgetting how my negotiating skills helped avert another work stoppage back in 2002.
Me: Listen, you don’t get bonus points for avoiding a strike. You just get negative points for allowing one to happen, which you already have, by the way. So you can’t use that on your resume. Besides, that entire season was marred by the mere possibility of another strike. I could never rest easy that summer, and I blame you.
Selig: Okay, okay. What about Interleague play?
Me: Never heard of it.
Selig: It’s when American League teams play National League teams for a few weeks during the course of the season. Crazy, right? Well, it’s been a huge success!
Me: Oh yeeeaaaaahhhh. I was wondering how the Royals and Pirates turned into such a heated rivalry.
Selig: And what about the World Baseball Classic?
Me: Hmmm, I think you’re using the word “classic” a little loosely there. But I’ll give you that one. Rebuttal: Steroids.
Selig: No comment.
Me: Bud, let’s turn this conversation towards more recent events in which you’ve massively screwed up. You’re in the process of giving DirecTV exclusive rights to MLB games, which means that local cable providers will no longer be able to offer the MLB package to its customers. So now, if you’re a fan of say, the Dodgers, and you did something stupid like move to New York because of something equally stupid – like a job or something – you can’t watch your favorite team unless you install a DirecTV dish in your place of residence, if that is, your place of residence allows such a thing. Or, OR, let’s say you’re one of the rare baseball fans who plays fantasy baseball, and you want to watch some of your guys play on occasion. Well, you can’t do that now either without DirecTV. My brother-in-law has DirecTV, by the way, and the feed goes out when a leaf falls on the dish outside, which is awesome. Who gave you this idea? Satan?
Selig: This idea came to me in a dream, and when I met with DirecTV executives on the matter, they thought it was fabulous!
Me: Did you consult anyone else on the dream, like for example, one of the eight zillion baseball fans on planet earth?
Selig: I didn’t really think their input was necessary.
Me: Of course not. Bud, if all goes well – and by well I mean “horribly wrong” – Barry Bonds will eclipse Hank Aaron’s all time home run record this season. A lot of people – and by a lot of people I mean “no one” – are wondering if you’ll be in attendance for this grand affair. So, will you?
Selig: I’m not sure yet. It depends. I might have to do something that day, depending on what day it is. It’s hard to say. I do a lot of stuff.
Me: Eloquently spoken. But Bud, don’t you think your absence for this inevitable event could be construed as you refusing to acknowledge the culture of steroid-induced records that you yourself created with your blatant indifference?
Selig: What? I’m sorry, I wasn’t listening.
Me: Whatever. Besides Bonds, this upcoming season should witness some other milestones as well. Alex Rodriguez should hit his 500th home run, unless he does something completely out-of-character like clamp up, and Ken Griffey Jr. may hit his 600th home run, unless he does something completely out-of-character like get injured. Manny Ramirez should hit his 500th as well, which may be news to him, and Tom Glavine and Randy Johnson each have a shot to win their 300th game, which is just about the most exciting thing I could ever imagine. Will you be in attendance for any of these events, since the possibility of steroids appears to be a non-issue?
Selig: I will attend all of these events. Unless two of them happen on the same day, because I take a six hour nap daily. That is how I get my ideas, because the best dreams come when you are napping.
Me: Totally. Bud, your Wikipedia page mentions that you used to own several used car dealerships, making your transition to Commissioner of Major League Baseball obvious, if not inevitable. If Sammy Sosa were a used car – and he is – how would you sell him to me? Ya’ know, if I were an idiot?
Selig: Well, I’d probably be like, “And right here we have the Sammy Sosa, one of the most famous and well known cars around. He’s got a lot of miles on him, but he’s still one of the best cars out there. Plus, he’s gone down considerably in price, so it’s a great deal if you’re in no rush to get where you’re going!”
Me: That’s pretty good. But what if I asked you where I’m supposed to get the illegal fuel it takes to operate this Sammy Sosa? Can I get it on online, like Gary Matthews, Jr.?
Selig: I’m not sure what you’re talking about.
Me: I’m not surprised.
Selig: By the way, I was under the impression that there was going to be some “good news” on the horizon. We’ve gone over the bad news already, so now maybe we could talk more about the positive attributes of my tenure as commissioner?
Me: Well, to be honest, I searched everywhere, and I couldn’t find any. I even Googled “Bud + Selig + good + news,” and my computer monitor started smoking. Not sure what that means. But, I guess, if we had to talk about some good news, I’d probably just mention how lucky you are to be commissioner of the one sport that, no matter what happens, we’ll always come back for more. Like, no matter how bad you screw up, and take advantage of our unconditional love for baseball, we’ll always be there, because that’s just who we are. So, you’ve got that going for you, which is nice.
Selig: I’ll take it!
Me: Yeah. Congratulations. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get home in time to watch all the games that aren’t available on my cable package. Awesome.
Did he say "Hemroids?" Makes sense...