Mark Cuban has tried to buy a major league team three times. He was probably squeezed out a couple of times. At least once — with the Rangers — he simply wasn’t willing to keep up with the bidding. Whatever the details are behind those efforts — and it’ll likely always be he-said, he-said — I don’t think it’s wrong to say that, to some degree, Mark Cuban got the shaft. A shaft that MLB could legally give him because of its ridiculous antitrust exemption, but the shaft all the same.
But at some point Cuban had to realize that if they don’t want him, he probably doesn’t want them either. You’d think he’d just wash his hands of baseball and its silliness when it comes to ownership matters. But that seems to not be the case. He’s still kind of mad! He went on the Dan Patrick show and the topic of Bud Selig came up:
“Was Bud Selig a bad commissioner?” Patrick asked.
“Horrible,” Cuban said. “Has the sport grown at all?”
Patrick said: “Regionally it has.”
Cuban continued: “The only growth it had was at the end of the ’90s and we know what happened there. He’s tried to act like a — I’ll tell you what really turned me off, other than the fact that he didn’t want me in. I had another owner who owned an NBA team walk up to me in an NBA meeting and say, ‘You have no chance. Don’t waste your time.’ What happened in the courtroom when I was looking at the Rangers and bankruptcy, it was ridiculous what they were trying to do. What’s worked for baseball, you know, other than steroids? And home run derbies because of it? You just can’t look at it and say this is a growth sport. You can’t say people enjoy it more.
Baseball revenue is up from $1.5 billion in 1995 to nearly $9 billion in 2013. Attendance has been at or near all-time highs for the past decade. Maybe one can measure baseball’s “growth” in ways other than revenue and attendance, but if you’re going to claim that Selig has been a horrible commissioner or that the sport has not grown at all, you had better come with some data, and not some generalized disdain for a guy who you don’t much like for personal reasons.
And they are personal reasons. Read the rest of Cuban’s comments about Selig. It’s all based on Cuban being mad about his experience with Selig and the idea that, according to Cuban, Selig reads everything written about him and thus Cuban wants to wind him up.
I don’t much care for the way MLB picks and chooses its owners. And I think baseball might’ve been a lot more fun with Mark Cuban as an owner than it has been without him. But you read this stuff and you can’t say that baseball’s keeping Cuban out is a very surprising.