Bud Selig: “the greatest environmentalist in the history of sports”

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This is not some empty boast from either Selig himself or one of his surrogates trying to burnish his legacy. It comes from Allen Hershkowitz, president and co-founder of the Green Sports Alliance, a non-profit that helps sports teams, leagues and venues enhance their environmental stewardship. He’s also a former NRDC scientist and is a visiting professor at the MBA Program of the Presidio Graduate School.

Mother Jones has a profile on him and his career. Specifically, how he convinced sports leagues — not filled with or run by folks who spend too much time thinking about environmental issues — to think about environmental issues. He did so by hipping them to how they could improve their bottom line by — or, at the very least, at the same time — as they do things which help the environment.

The article is filled with all sorts of examples, including obvious things like getting them to build green stadiums and start recycling programs to getting the Eagles to change which toilet paper they use at their stadium because it came from trees which supported eagle habitat. In that vein, a lot of it is based on good old fashioned business, such as letting sponsors and business partners of leagues know when what the leagues are doing is bad for the environment, their image and the bottom line. The market isn’t perfect, of course, but the market tends to move folks of a certain stripe pretty quickly.

Anyway, Hershkowitz singles out Bud Selig for praise:

A few months later, Hershkowitz secured a meeting with surrogates to then-Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, to ask them to collaborate with the NRDC on environmental messaging. Redford narrated a $35,000 video the NRDC put together for the meeting, even making an appearance in the New York Knights jacket he famously wore in The Natural. The commish bought in, signing a comprehensive agreement to educate fans and promote energy efficiency, renewable power, water conservation, and recycling. When they finally met in person, Hershkowitz says, Selig took him by the shoulders and said, “Whatever you need, you let me know.” To this day, Hershkowitz calls Selig “the greatest environmentalist in the history of sports.”

And you think all he did was spearhead a labor dispute that cancelled a World Series.

(Thanks to Michael Lloyd for the heads up)

Shohei Ohtani agrees to $30 million deal for 2023 with Angels

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Shohei Ohtani agreed to a $30 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels for the 2023 season in the two-way superstar’s final year of arbitration eligibility before free agency.

The Angels announced the deal, avoiding a potentially complicated arbitration case with the 2021 AL MVP.

Ohtani’s deal is fully guaranteed, with no other provisions. The contract is the largest ever given to an arbitration-eligible player, surpassing the $27 million given to Mookie Betts by the Boston Red Sox in January 2020, a month before he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Ohtani is having another incredible season at the plate and on the mound for the Angels, regularly accomplishing feats that haven’t occurred in the major leagues since Babe Ruth’s heyday. He is a strong contender for the AL MVP award again alongside the Yankees’ Aaron Judge, who has tied the AL home run record and is closing in on the batting Triple Crown.

Ohtani is batting .276 with 34 homers, 94 RBIs and a .888 OPS as the Halos’ designated hitter. He is 15-8 with a 2.35 ERA and 213 strikeouts as their ace on the mound, and opponents are batting only .207 against him.

The 28-year-old Ohtani still will be a free agent after the 2023 season, and his future could be tied to the immediate fortunes of the Angels, who will complete their seventh consecutive losing season next week. The Angels didn’t trade Ohtani at the deadline despite being out of the playoff race again, and Ohtani is wildly popular among the club’s fans.

Ohtani repeatedly has said winning will be an important factor in choosing his home beyond 2023, and Angels owner Arte Moreno is currently exploring a sale of the team.

Moreno’s leadership has been widely criticized during the Angels’ mostly miserable run of play since 2009, and a fresh start with deep-pocketed new owners could be the best chance to persuade Ohtani to stay with the franchise he joined in 2018 from Japan. Ohtani immediately won the AL Rookie of the Year award, and he rounded into unique form last season after recovering fully from Tommy John surgery.