Saturday, January 31, 2009

Politics: It's all Bud Selig's Fault

TORONTO, ONTARIO - As some people search for the correct place to put the blame for the economic crisis gripping the world, there's a pretty good explanation going around. I first heard it on the Brian Copeland Program, and its origins seem to date back at least to a Gail Sheehy column in Vanity Fair in 2000. The thesis? It's all Bud Selig's fault.

Back in 1994, Bud Selig, then owner of the Milwaukee Brewers, was the acting commissioner of Major League Baseball after the owners had ousted Fay Vincent in 1992. It was thought that the owners were going to find a permanent commissioner and George W. Bush, then an owner of the Texas Rangers, was a potential candidate. As reported in Sheehy's column, Bush wanted to be the commissioner of baseball more than anything else in his life, and when he was approached by Texas Republicans about running for governor, he initially put them off, thinking that he was in line to become the commissioner.

Bud Selig had other ideas--he wanted the permanent position for himself. The temporary commissioner held on to his post during the 1994 strike, had himself elected permanent commissioner in 1998, and now will apparently serve until 2012--if he even steps down then, since he had previously agreed to step down in 2008.

As revealed in Vincent's 2002 autobiography, it was only after former commissioner Vincent told Bush that Selig had no plan to propose Bush as commissioner that the future president took the governor's race seriously. Bush defeated Ann Richards in the Texas governor's race in 1994, went on to run for president in 2000, and we all know what happened from there.

Had Bud Selig stepped aside to let George W. Bush take the job he had always wanted, that of commissioner of Major League Baseball, he would not have run for governor of Texas. He would not have been in a position to run for president in 2000. World history would have been different in the ensuing eight years.

So, need someone to blame for the economy? Try Bud Selig.

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