I was complaining yesterday that the absence of Hank Steinbrenner makes the Yankees kinda boring, even if his absence is actually a very good thing for the Yankees. I feel the same way about Bud Selig’s stubborn refusal to say silly, indefensible things in recent years. He was interviewed at length today, and didn’t say much of anything to angry up my blood.
Hey, who wouldn’t like a salary cap, but we tried and failed and it’s probably not essential anyway, he says. Yeah, a lot of rich teams are doing well this year, but that doesn’t always happen, and things are generally cool on the competitive balance front. While the Mets and a few small market teams are making themselves look foolish this year, there isn’t anybody out there these days who is totally running their franchise into the ground, he says. Obviously we can quibble with all of the generalities Selig offers, but we’re well past the days when he used to declare that black was white and then get outraged when he was trampled at the next zebra crossing. It’s almost enough to make me pine for 2002.
The one thing he does offer — and which he has offered repeatedly since the middle of summer — is that the owners are going to push for an international draft and a hard slotting system during the next round of CBA negotiations. I’ve gone on about this elsewhere, but my view is that the international draft is a theoretically defensible idea that, in practice would be very bad , and which might be hard to implement because foreign countries and teams that have spent a lot of money developing their international operations wouldn’t welcome it. At the same time, the hard slot is a theoretically bad idea that in practice may work out OK, and that will be much easier to implement because the players would probably welcome it. I predict that Bud and the owners will bat .500 on this one.
So there we are. The state of the game is generally OK. The economy sucks, but it didn’t seem to hit baseball quite as hard as people were predicting last winter. There is some labor stuff ahead, but mostly we’re going to sit back and laugh as the NFL tears itself apart next year.
It’s boring, but I’ll take it.