Selig on the Galea investigation: nothin' to worry about

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Bud Selig was just on the Mike & Mike show, and covered a couple of topics:

  • Greenberg asked him if he had any advice for Roger Goodell and the NFL as they wade into labor hell. Selig dodged the question with some talk about how all leagues and businesses have to deal with this stuff from time to time. I may be imagining the suppressed schadenfreude-inspired chortle. He did add, however — referring to the 1994-95 strike — that “I don’t think any of us at the time understood just how much the work stoppage hurt the sport.”  Which is the closest he’s ever going to come to an apology, I presume;
  • Asked about the Dr. Galea investigation that has led to Jose Reyes and now Alex Rodriguez being questioned by the feds, Selig said “I don’t think there’s a great deal to worry about.” Given that the man is incapable of ordering a sandwich without three qualifiers and four dependent clauses, I take that as pretty strong evidence that there’s really nothing there as far as baseball is concerned;
  • Jayson Stark asked Mike & Mike to ask Selig whether, in light of the success of Olympic hockey, baseball would reconsider its stance on stopping the season to send major leaguers to the Summer Olympics in the event baseball is reinstated as an event, Selig gave an unequivocal no, citing that length of the season is already a problem, and saying that “telling our fans we’re going away for two weeks in not pragmatically possible.”

Good on Bud for that last answer.  Between the winter leagues, the WBC and the increasingly diverse pool of players in Major League Baseball, the sport is pretty damn international already. The game isn’t appreciated in countries that don’t already play it, and Olympic exposure does virtually nothing to enhance the sport.  If I were commissioner I’d put baseball back in Olympic Stadium before I’d put it back in the Olympics.

Oh, one final note: Selig said that he had heard Stark ask that question earlier in the show “while I was working out.”  Mental picture of the day: Bud Selig in some tight Under Armor, sweating and pumping iron while a highly paid personal trainer says “PUSH IT BUD!!!”

You’re welcome.

Max Scherzer will not be ready for Opening Day

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Ten days ago Nationals ace Max Scherzer said he’d be ready for the start of the regular season. “I’m gonna do it,” Scherzer said.

[Ron Howard from “Arrested Development” voice] — No, he’s not:

Nationals manager Dusty Baker said that Max Scherzer is not on track to be the team’s opening day starter, and will most likely open the season as the third pitcher in the rotation.

He’s still projected to make it to the opening rotation, taking the hill, most likely, on Thursday April 6 against the Marlins. At least if the schedule doesn’t slip any more.

Scherzer, as you probably know, has a stress fracture in the knuckle of his right ring finger, which has messed with his preparation and has caused him to alter his grip a bit. As of now Stephen Strasburg will get the Opening Day nod.

Theo Epstein named The World’s Greatest Leader

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Fortune Magazine has put out a list of The World’s Greatest Leaders. Not the greatest business leaders, not the greatest leaders in a given industry, but the Greatest Leaders, full stop. The greatest according to Fortune: The Cubs’ Theo Epstein.

For some context, Pope Francis was third. Angela Merkel was 10th. Lebron James was the next greatest sports leader, ranked 11th. Take Fortune’s methodology with a grain of salt, however, given that it has John McCain above Merkel — what, exactly, does he lead now? — and Samantha Bee in the top 20.

So what makes Theo the world’s best leader according to Fortune?

The Cubs owe their success to a five-year rebuilding program that featured a concatenation of different leadership styles. The team thrived under the affable patience of owner Tom Ricketts, and, later, under the innovative eccentricity of manager Joe Maddon. But most important of all was the evolution of the club’s president for baseball operations, Theo Epstein, the wunderkind executive who realized he would need to grow as a leader in order to replicate in Chicago the success he’d had with the Boston Red Sox.

I don’t want to take anything away from what Theo has done — he’s a Hall of Fame executive already in my view — but I feel like maybe one needs to adjust for the fact that this is a baseball team we’re talking about. They’re the whole world to us and their brands are nationally and even world famous, but as an organization, sports teams are rather small. There are guys who run reasonably-sized HVAC companies with more employees than a baseball team and they don’t get the benefit of an antitrust exemption and a rule which allows them to get their pick of the best new employees if they had a bad year the year before.

Really, not trying to throw shade here, just thinking that being the spiritual father for 1.2 billion Catholics or running a foundation that serves 55 million needy children — like the woman who comes in at number 14 — is a bit of a tougher trick.

But this will make a great framed magazine article on Theo’s wall in Wrigley Field.