Selig in the Wrong Place

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By John Feinstein
Special to washingtonpost.com
Monday, August 6, 2007; 5:39 PM

Bud Selig really blew it this past weekend.

It wasn't the glum look on his face watching Barry Bonds round the bases after he finally hit career home run No. 755 on Saturday night in San Diego. Actually, that was one of Selig's best moments of the season given that he spoke for millions of baseball fans: "I knew this was going to happen, I knew I had to watch it, but I sure as hell don't feel good about it."

Fine, Bud, we're all with you. Bonds is a cheat and a boor and this neverending "chase," of Hank Aaron (an unfair term because it somehow implies that Bonds is worthy of chasing Aaron) has become a complete and utter bore.

So, what should you have done next?

Gotten on a plane and flown to Chicago. There was no need to stick around for Sunday's game because everyone knew Bonds wasn't going to play. He was going to wait until Monday when the Giants returned home to San Francisco to try to end our long national nightmare by finally hitting home run No. 756 and, with any luck, disappearing soon after that from our consciousness.

That meant there wasn't a single reason why the Commissioner of Baseball should not have been at Wrigley Field on Sunday night to watch Tom Glavine try to win his 300th game. Glavine is everything Bonds is not: he stands for all the good things in baseball and in sports. He's a great competitor who has gotten everything there is to get out of his natural (an important word these days) ability; he has always been a gentleman both in victory and defeat; he's one of those people of whom everyone who has ever played with has nothing but good things to say about.

What's more, it is entirely possible someone will break Bonds's record before we see another 300-game winner. If he stays healthy, Alex Rodriguez has a pretty good chance to surpass Bonds seven years from now. He's 255 home runs behind Bonds and gaining. If he doesn't pick up any ground on Bonds between now and season's end (unlikely) he would need to average just under 37 home runs for the next seven seasons to catch Bonds. That's far from impossible.

What may be impossible is for any pitcher to get to 300 victories in the next 10 years if Randy Johnson -- 16 wins short at age 44 and about to undergo back surgery again -- doesn't do it. Mike Mussina has 246 wins, meaning he would have to pitch until he is 42 (and stay healthy) to have a chance. He won't be around that long.

So there was Selig with a free day and the chance to go see one of the true good guys achieve one of his sport's great milestone and he took a pass. Can someone please explain what the commissioner is thinking right now? Is he dizzy fronm traipsing around with Bonds for two weeks?

The other day he talked about the 'Herculean,' effort he had put into following Bonds. One can hear baseball fans everywhere groaning at poor Bud's plight: having to fly around in a private jet; stay in a five-star hotel and sit in the best seats in the house to watch baseball for two weeks? Most people would consider that the vacation of a lifetime.

Not Bud. It would be easy to sympathize with the fact that he can't stand Bonds, or what Bonds is about to do to his friend Hank Aaron, or the fact that he is going to stain baseball's record books if he had the guts to stand up and say, 'Yes, I'm to blame for all this, as are the owners, the union, the players and the media. No, it isn't unfair to single Bonds out just because we know steroids were epidemic until we finally got shamed into testing for them because he's the poster boy and he's a complete jerk. Yes, I've got the guts to stand up to the apologists who say ridiculous things like, 'he's never tested positive for steroids,'

Selig never should have been with Bonds. He should have been with Glavine in Chicago. In fact, he should have been in Milwaukee -- his home town -- last Tuesday when Glavine first went for 300 wins only to have his bullpen cough up a 2-1 lead for him in the eighth inning.


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© 2007 The Washington Post Company

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