Sports Business Journal puts a list together each year naming the most influential people in sports business. The new one is out and Bud Selig is pretty darn high on that list: number 2.
Now, number one and number 16 happen to be my bosses, so I don’t want Bud getting too big a head about all of this (Will Bud return my calls now? I’m pretty sure he has to based on the rankings), but that’s a pretty amazing showing for the head of Major League Baseball. A league which has long been maligned when it comes to business savvy and all of that.
But SBJ is right here: Selig pretty much kicked butt and took names this year, be it throwing Frank McCourt to the curb to seeing revenues go up again to getting a collective bargaining agreement in place without any blood on the floor. At least any of his own.
Other baseball heavy hitters on the list: John Henry and Hal Steinbrenner. MLB Executive VP of Business Tim Brosnan. MLBPA honcho Michael Weiner. MLBAM head Bob Bowman.
People still like to use the tired old line about Selig being a car salesman, but the league is a long way from the days when small business owners with small vision were in charge. It’s just an incredibly sophisticated enterprise these days, and there are a lot of really competent people running things.
Which is boring for a blogger like me, but it is great for the league.
Back during the 2015 playoffs the sorts of New York media types who love to find reasons to criticize players for petty reasons decided to criticize Yoenis Cespedes for playing golf the day of a playoff game. The Mets won the series with the Cubs during which the controversy, such as it was, occurred and it was soon dropped.
It was picked back up again in 2016 when Cespedes, while on the disabled list with a strained quad, was seen playing golf. Despite the fact that everyone involved said that golf did not contribute to his injury and that golf would have no impact on his injured quad, it was deemed “a bad look” by a columnist looking to get some mileage out of bashing Cespedes for having a hobby that probably half of all ballplayers share. They did it when he showed off his fancy cars too, by the way, even though just about every ballplayer has a fancy car or three. When you’re a superstar in New York — especially when you’re one with whom the media is not particularly close for various reasons — you’re going to catch hell for seemingly nothing.
Now there’s a new twist to the Cespedes golf saga. Yoenis himself says that his poor start — he’s hitting .195/.258/.354 and leads the league in strikeouts — is due to . . . not enough golf! From the New York Times:
He gave a possible reason for the poor start this weekend: not playing enough golf, a hobby beloved by many baseball players. And, yes, he is serious.
“In previous seasons, one of the things I did when I wasn’t going well was to play golf,” he said after a game on Friday in which he struck out four times but still drove in the go-ahead run in the 12th inning. “This year, I’m not playing golf.”
The story says Cespedes quit golf last summer because he worried that it was contributing to hamstring problems. He’s thinking about going back to it soon, as he thinks it’ll help his swing. Given that he’ll catch hell either way, he may as well do what he wants.