All right, so I know it's become a sport in itself to bash Bud Selig, and I also understand that I'm pretty hard on baseball around these parts, but I listened to Selig spend an inning in the booth during the Twins-Red Sox game this afternoon,* and honestly, I'm not even sure what game he's talking about anymore. "Baseball is more popular than ever," Selig said, more than once, and while it is true that attendance may be at record levels, let me make a radical presumption here: This does not mean baseball is more popular than ever. In fact, this is such a patent falsehood that I was waiting for Selig to follow up by promoting General Motors stock. Suggesting baseball is more popular than ever is the moral equivalent of suggesting that the teletype machine is more popular than ever. And suggesting that baseball has essentially conquered all of its major issues, as Selig did later in the interview, while deflecting concerns about night games and dreadfully slow play, is one of the most brazen acts of propagandizing I'd witnessed since Baghdad Bob fled for the Emirates.
I know there are a lot people who still love baseball as much as they ever have--but there are far fewer than there used to be. And I also know those of us who are disgusted with baseball and those who continue to watch it find Bud Selig equally repulsive. Every commissioner of a major American sports league is something of huckster--it's part of their job, to stretch the truth, to attempt to control the narrative--but Selig really is either the most disingenuous commissioner in the history of American sport, or he is the most naive. Often, it seems he might be both.
*I was at the gym, which I figure grants me an exemption in regard to this.