- 07/05/2011, 08:04PM ET
williewilliejuan said 07/05, 08:04 PM
"If you could go back in time, what idea would you like to plant in a sports-related figure's mind to permanently change the course of sports for the better?"
The time is September 1992. MLB owners have just pushed Fay Vincent to resign. Bud Selig is tapped to become the interim Commissioner. I would like to suggest to him that taking the position would ultimately be bad for baseball and he should decline it.
Many argue that Selig has been a good Commissioner. He has done things that improved the game, such as realigning the leagues into three divisions each and instituting the wild card. The latter has helped make late September games meaningful for more teams and has made the game more exciting.
He has done things that have probably been net neutral to the game, like the unbalanced schedule and interleague play (although they give some wild card teams easier paths to the playoffs). He has done things that are just silly, like awarding home field in the World Series to the league that wins the All-Star game.
However, his inaction regarding PED use and failure to implement a meaningful salary cap have threatened the game he is supposed to protect.
Mondo Jay said 07/05, 10:48 PM
I have the power to influence history.
Like the character Cobb in the movie Inception, I must plant an idea in the mind of a person ("sports related figure" for this TD) that leads to changes in their behavior or philosophy. If I am successful, history will be altered. The Dream may not Collapse...
September 1972, Munich Germany.
The Olympic Games have long represented ideals of humanity's highest callings. A collective quest for peace, integrity & athletic greatness that transcends culture.
In '72, those ideals were brutally shattered. The Games would never be the same as politics & fear were now part of the Olympic equation.
On the morning of Sept 5, with 6 days left in the Games, the worst tragedy in Olympic history occurred. 8 Arab terrorists stormed into the largely unguarded Olympic village & raided the apartment building that housed the Israeli athletes. 2 Israeli athletes were killed & 9 more were taken hostage.
Within 24 hours, those hostages were murdered.
But, what if.....
I planted an idea in the mind of the director of security for the Games, Manfred Schrieber:
Protect the Israeli athletes at all cost!
williewilliejuan said 07/06, 09:32 PM
The Munich massacre was a horrific event. Going back in time to save those who died would be a noble exercise, but it wouldn't meaningfully change the course of sports. It was a political/societal event that happened to occur in a sporting venue.
Having a different commissioner could change the course of baseball. The ouster of Vincent for Selig was seen by the player's union as a continuation of years of collusion by the owners to keep player salaries down. This mistrust factored into the union's strong opposition to any discussion of a salary cap in the negotiations leading up to the 1994 strike.
A commissioner seen to be more impartial may have had better success advocating an NFL-style salary cap as being best for the long-term health of the league. However, Selig was viewed as the face of the owners; owners who had a track record of effectively stealing money from the players.
As a result, baseball is a sport of haves and have-nots. There are a few teams who can afford large payrolls and several who cannot. This limits the ability of small market teams to compete and reduces viewership of the sport if one of the big money teams isn't involved.
Mondo Jay said 07/07, 02:34 AM
Going back in time to save those who died would be a noble exercise, but it wouldn't meaningfully change the course of sports
Au contraire WWJ!
Leading up to Munich, the Olympic Games had been steadily growing in every aspect. Munich marked the arrival of the Olympics as the global event. All records regarding the number of participating nations, athletes, & members of the media were broken.
The world was watching.
The Palestinian leadership recognized the international importance of the event & decided to take advantage of the spotlight to further their cause.
The world watched the horror unfold live on television, the massacre became a defining moment that spread fear and intimidation to a global audience. Millions of people in dozens of countries were affected.
After the massacre, the Olympics would never be viewed the same. The spirit & certainly the innocence of the Games was altered forever.
Saving those lives in Munich would have prevented that.
Steroid & salary cap issues in baseball pale in comparison.
If Selig would have turned down the job, the likely outcome would have been exactly the same & possibly worse.
williewilliejuan said 07/07, 09:19 PM
So...if the Israeli athletes had been saved, terrorists would have given up and chosen lives of pacifism? The Olympics wouldn't have been politicized by boycotts in '80 and '84? Athletes wouldn't have gone on PED cycles that would make Barry Bonds blanch? The Chinese wouldn't lie about their athletes' ages to get an edge? The loss of Olympic innocence would be here regardless of what happened in Munich.
Speaking of PEDs and innocence lost, let's get back to MLB. If a neutral commissioner had been named instead of Selig, the 1994 labor negotiations would have been less contentious. The strike may have been shorter or avoided altogether. If either occurred, there wouldn't be as much temptation to turn a blind eye to rising PED use.
The public was mad about the strike and viewership went down dramatically. Along came juiced-up McGwire and Sosa to go on an HR binge that captured America???s attention. Selig had to opt between doing the right thing and what was easier at the moment. As is his trademark, he chose poorly.
If Selig wasn't commissioner, the course of MLB could be changed for the better and its record books wouldn't need asterisks forever more.
Mondo Jay said 07/08, 01:12 PM
An idea is like a virus, resilient , highly contagious and the smallest seed of an idea can grow. It can grow to define or destroy you. -Cobb
Essentially, picking the wrong idea can lead to disaster.
Selig is the "devil we know". My opponent never put forth a name of a candidate that would right all the perceived wrongs of Selig. As WWJ stated, it can be argued that Selig did many things that benefited the game.
A different Commish may not have achieved so many positives. The sport of baseball would not have been changed for the better. The best outcome would have been the status quo.
The Commish is chosen by a vote of the owners of the MLB teams. Basically, the Commish works for the owners. He pushes their agendas and protects their interests.
If the owners wanted to add salary caps or eradicate PED usage, Selig would have pushed those agendas. It didn't happen.
Saving those lives in Munich would have avoided the collapse of the Olympic dream for so many millions.
The Olympics & its history would have been changed for the better. The momentum of good will would never have been slowed. 11 People would still be alive.
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