Bud Selig talks about Arizona . . . kinda

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Arizona outline.jpgToday Bud Selig spoke for the first time about his thoughts on the new Arizona immigration law and the calls for baseball to move the 2011 All-Star Game from Chase Field. His response: Baseball hires a lot of minorities. Really, that was his answer:

Asked about such demands at a news conference Thursday following an
owners meeting, he responded with a defense of baseball’s minority
hiring record.

“Apparently all the people around and in minority
communities think we’re doing OK. That’s the issue, and that’s the
answer,” he said. “I told the clubs today: ‘Be proud of what we’ve
done.’ They are. We should. And that’s our answer. We control our own
fate, and we’ve done very well.”

Which is great and everything, but it does nothing to address the fact that the players’ union, several individual players and at least one manager — Ozzie Guillen — have said that they won’t participate in the All-Star Game if it takes place in Arizona.  You’d think that would be something he’d want to comment on, if for no other reason than to say such talk is premature. Instead we get this:

“We’re a social institution. We have done
everything we should do – should do, our responsibility,” he said.
“Privilege to do it. Don’t want any pats on the back, and we’ll continue
to do it.”

Again, he’s talking about baseball’s hiring record. Which has absolutely nothing to do with this unless you think that all issues that touch on race or ethnicity fall into the same bucket.  Great job with the hiring Bud, we’re all proud of you. But what do you think about your players and your union threatening a wildcat strike?

Like I said yesterday, I’m rather agnostic about the location of the All-Star Game in light of this controversy. I have my issues with the law, but I think that it’s a bit premature, and possibly counterproductive, for baseball to make any grand gesture like moving the game.

But I think that Bud should at least say that much. The response he gave — we’re very good to the brown people in general,
so we are immune from this controversy — is beside the point at best and condescending at worst, and will do nothing to address the concerns of baseball’s constituencies.

Mike Rizzo and Shawn Kelley almost got into a physical confrontation

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A few weeks back the Washington Nationals designated reliever Shawn Kelley for assignment the morning after he threw his glove into the ground and glared at the Nats dugout in frustration after giving up a homer in a blowout win against the Mets. He was later traded to the Athletics. Nats GM Mike Rizzo said at that time that he thought Kelley was trying to show up his manager and that there was no room for that sort of thing on the team, offering an “either you’re with us or you’re working against us” sentiment in the process.

Today the Washington Post talks about all of the Nationals’ bullpen woes of late, and touches on the departure of Kelley as being part of the problem. In so doing, we learn that, on the night of Kelley’s mound tantrum, he and Rizzo almost got into a physical confrontation:

Rizzo headed down to the clubhouse and confronted Kelley, according to people familiar with the situation. The argument became heated, including raised voices, and eventually it almost became physical, according to people familiar with the exchange. Adam Eaton got between the two of them and separated them before things could advance further . . .

Might I point out that, the fact of this emerging now helps to vindicate Brandon Kintzler who, the day before, was traded away, some say, for being the source for negative reports from inside the Nats’ clubhouse?

That aside, the article does not make anyone look good, really. Rizzo had the backing of his team with the Kelley incident, but the overall story — how did the Nats’ bullpen, which was once a strength — get so bad? — does no favors for Rizzo. Mostly because he seems to have thought that they had so much extra bullpen depth that they could afford to deal away Kintzler, which he says was a financial move, not a punitive trade for being a media source.

Question: when was the last time you heard a baseball man say he had too much relief pitching? Especially today, in which the bullpen has assumed such a prominent role? Seems rather unreasonable to cut relievers when you’re trying mightily to come back from a sizable deficit in the standings, yes?