Many thanks for the three-part series on Major League Baseball's cartel and its leader, Bud Selig ["The Last Cartel: How Baseball Does Business," front page, June 27-29]. Steve Fainaru presented a frank and, to many in our region, disheartening behind-the-scenes look at baseball's machinations.
I was especially appalled to read the following quote:
"Look, if you own a team, there's a certain understanding. . . . You try not to hurt your existing partners."
This encapsulates why Mr. Selig is unfit to be commissioner of Major League Baseball: As a team owner, he is not a fair judge of the best interests of the game. I look forward to having a commissioner who will, like all of his predecessors other than Mr. Selig, be beholden to neither players nor owners but be interested solely in the integrity and best interests of baseball.
Thanks to Steve Fainaru for the superb series on Bud Selig and Major League Baseball. I'd just add that it's important to identify the other team slated for contraction (referred to a couple of times as "another franchise"): the Minnesota Twins.
As an article in the series noted, "[Mr.] Selig in effect was trapped in a perfectly circumscribed market [by Chicago, Minneapolis and Lake Michigan]." If contraction had gone through, Mr. Selig would have not only maneuvered himself out of this trap but set the stage for his own version of westward expansion by in effect ceding to himself much of the territory of his arch rival franchise's fan base.
Contraction was a scheme designed first and foremost to secure the future of Mr. Selig's own team and, therefore, his profit margin.
If there is in fact a secret alliance between Mr. Selig and Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos, then it may have been a calculated attempt to eliminate the potential for baseball in the District or Northern Virginia in exchange for Mr. Angelos's support of Mr. Selig's attempted coup in Minnesota.
I've had it with Peter Angelos's claim that he will lose a huge portion of his fan base if the Expos move to Northern Virginia or the District.
My wife, her staff and I went to the June 23 Orioles-Yankees game at Camden Yards. We left Woodbridge at 3:50 and arrived at 6:10, some 40 minutes late for the corporate function we were attending. We didn't even have to park our car, but we still didn't arrive at the club-level terrace until 6:25.
So let's stop talking about the Orioles being less than an hour away. Unless, maybe, you go by helicopter.
As a native Milwaukeean and lifelong Brewers fan, I was troubled by the first story in Steve Fainaru's series on Major League Baseball.
That article did not include the latest aspect of the story: The Milwaukee Brewers are threatening to complete their first winning season in 12 years. They play in a gorgeous ballpark that no longer leaks, and they are drawing more fans. Fans don't have to endure the unpredictable Wisconsin spring weather anymore, and, most important, the Brewers won't be going anywhere for another 30 years.
Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig was right. If Miller Park had not been built, the Brewers would be gone or dying.
Mr. Fainaru implied that Mr. Selig is now a hated man in Milwaukee. Without a doubt, he is no longer beloved, but Miller Park is not why. The Selig name has been tarnished because of the horrendous decade-long performance by the Brewers. While Mr. Selig has not been involved in the operation of the team for some time, his six years of operating in a dual role as commissioner and owner unquestionably hurt the Brewers.
That public financing negotiations for the stadium were acrimonious in a blue-collar state such as Wisconsin has nothing to do with Mr. Selig and everything to do with the nature of Major League Baseball. If the Brewers are ever again to compete consistently, they must maximize their revenue by squeezing whatever they can out of Miller Park and by working with other MLB owners to enhance league revenue-sharing.
I find no fault in Mr. Selig seeing in the mid-1990s where baseball was headed and trying his best to do something about it, both for his hometown team and for the league.