Bud Selig has announced he will retire as the commissioner of Major League baseball following the 2014 season. He’ll be 80 years old when he steps down.
He’s getting a lot of complimentary reaction from the baseball world for his 20-plus years at the helm, but I think he is being overrated by that crowd.
I say good riddance, Bud. You were adequate, but you mostly kept the game at the status quo. And, you were too old to still be there. Ask Penn State what it’s like to have an 80-year-old man running a program.
My belief is that baseball is still way behind the times and is being held back from reaching its full potential as a spectator sport. I want more playoff games and I want a regular season that matters more.
I want baseball to get more control of how trades happen, player transactions are completed and how player contracts are honored. I want to see baseball bring about more player loyalty to the game.
Selig tried hard when it came to steroids and I give him credit for always staying true to trying to keep the game clean.
Overall, though, the sport is ready for a regime change. It is time for a youthful spark and business savvy.
Here are the top five candidates who could replace Selig.
He owned the Texas Rangers and still attends a few games each season. This would be a new type of challenge for him, but I doubt he’d ever take the job because he has too much going on with his presidential library and writing his memoirs. Which leads us to the next candidate.
4. Mitt Romney
Isn’t he the business guru? Baseball needs a better business model. Don’t forget that he ran the 2002 Winter Olympics, too. And, it’s not like he’s got a lot going on right now.
3. Bob Costas
He’s been around the game his whole life and he’s aware of baseball’s strengths and weaknesses. People in the game love him. He could infuse some life into baseball or he could get too philosophical and end up going too traditional. He also knows how all other sports build momentum and expand their brands.
2. Cal Ripken, Jr.
He has done it all in baseball, including leading by example for the good of the game by creating more opportunities for young people with camps, leagues, clinics and tournaments. He’s done well for himself in the business world, too. He’s been a big success in life and holds more respect from all involved in baseball than probably anyone else (with the possible exception of Hank Aaron).
1. Mark Cuban.
Sure, why not? People are afraid of him sometimes, but, he typically chooses well in marketing and handling finances. He will come with new ideas and he will put MLB on a path to reestablishing itself as the national pastime. He was close to owning an MLB team on two occasions. His bids for the Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers did not make it, but, obviously his heart is in the right spot for baseball. He loves the sport as he showed when he was willing to put huge money down to try and acquire teams.
There may be some tongue-in-cheek in places in this article, but I do believe a style change is necessary for baseball. Someone younger with business savvy would probably be the best fit for baseball.
Howard Alperin is Managing Editor of AmericanizeSoccer.com