Great column over at New York Magazine from Will Leitch today, in which Will assesses Bud Selig: the most effective commissioner in professional sports.
I can’t help but agree. His failures have been exceedingly high-profile and photo-worthy, but as Will notes, Selig has learned from them and hasn’t made the same mistake twice. Meanwhile, his successes — which are many and which are underreported — are far more muted due to his consensus-building nature and his complete inability to be a phony, chest-thumper like some other sports bosses we’ve had our fill of lately. Baseball has grown tremendously under his watch, both from a business perspective and, in my view, in terms of the product on the field. Selig deserves credit for much of that and, even where the good stuff hasn’t been his doing, he deserves credit for knowing when to get the hell out of the way.
Selig is far from perfect. And his blackest mark as Commissioner — the 1994-95 strike — may be a sin for which he does not deserve ultimate absolution. But one need only look at what’s going on elsewhere or to imagine an alternate history in which some of baseball’s other owners took control in the early 90s like Selig did, to see how much worse things could have gone.