It appears another major American sport will be experiencing a changing of the guard in the near future. Just as long-time NBA commissioner David Stern is getting ready to retire after the upcoming basketball season, Bud Selig will also walk away from MLB after the 2014 season. Selig’s tenure started way back in 1992 when he was voted into a role as ‘acting commissioner’ following Fay Vincent’s resignation. He didn’t officially become the league’s commissioner until 1998 after another vote from team owners.
So essentially, Selig’s tenure has spanned more than two decades. In that time, baseball has undergone some changes for the good and also experienced some very dark times.
Selig’s first big move was to change the MLB playoff system. He was the one behind adding wild card teams and a divisional round to the playoffs. Before his tenure, the MLB playoffs consisted of the LCS and World Series only. At the time, traditional baseball fans hated the new system. They felt it took away from the classic pennant races that you hear so much about. However, the expansion opened the door for more teams and fan bases to get a taste of playoff baseball.
But then there’s of course the strike year of 1994 and the steroid scandals that rocked baseball during Selig’s tenure. Some people believe that he should have done more to stop the spread of PEDs throughout baseball. The commish has given contradictory statements in the past on when he started to implement a strategy to remove PEDs from the game, but regardless of when MLB started to truly crack down, we can all see how it ended up.
A lot of the ugliness happened on Selig’s watch, although there’s no denying that steroid use was rampant during Vincent’s tenure and Selig inherited some of that mess.
But no matter how you feel about Selig’s handling of the drug issues that have plagued baseball over the last few decades, I think most of can agree that he did a pretty good job as commissioner, overall. At the same time, I believe his retirement will benefit baseball moving forward. With a new commissioner, will come a new era. Hopefully, the new era can be one that’s finally PED-free.