6 reasons baseball fans will be glad to see Bud Selig retire

Baseball's commissioner is stepping down after a two-decade reign

Bud Selig
(Image credit: (Jamie Squire/Getty Images))

Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig announced Thursday that he will retire after the 2014 season, effective January 2015 when his contract expires.

In his two decades at the helm, Selig has presided over some vast changes to the game, many of them positive. He oversaw an era of geographic and financial expansion, implemented the Wild Cad playoff format, and (finally) instituted instant replay, to name a few.

But Selig also had a penchant for irking fans, earning a reputation as a stodgy, obstreperous commissioner. Here's how Google helped fill in a search for him:

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Here, 6 reasons baseball fans hate the guy:

The steroid era

Selig presided over one of the darkest periods in the sport's history. Under his watch, players' heads grew to the size of small planets while hallowed records fell.

First Mark McGwire and then Barry Bonds shattered the single-season home run record. Bonds later became the all-time home run king, chasing down the title amid accusations that he had taken performance enhancing drugs.

In 2007, the Mitchell report concluded there had been "widespread anabolic steroid use" in baseball over the previous decade, and named as cheaters many of the game's top players, including Bonds, McGwire, and Roger Clemens.

The contraction debacle

After adding teams in the 1990s, Selig decided baseball needed to do away with a couple in the early 2000s.

Originally, he planned to nix the Minnesota Twins and Montreal Expos following the 2001 season. The players' union argued it would violate the league's labor agreement, and the plan was put on hold after a Minnesota judge issued an injunction forcing the Twins to run out their lease at the Metrodome.

The Twins went on to play in the 2002 American League Championship Series and have remained a viable franchise since.

Meanwhile, former minority owners of the Expos sued Selig and former Expos owner Jeffrey Loria, accusing them of fraud. Selig and Loria, they alleged, had been scheming for two years to eliminate the Expos so Loria could have a U.S. team all to himself.

"From the beginning of Mr. Loria's involvement with the Expos, he and his co-conspirators engaged in a scheme that had as its object the destruction of baseball in Montreal," the suit claimed.

Loria bought a stake in the Expos for $12 million in 1999, but sold it to the league for ten times that amount in 2002. He then purchased the Marlins with his boatload of cash, and is now generally regarded as baseball's worst, most devious owner.

A canceled World Series

With two months to go in the 1994 season, Selig canceled baseball. Technically, the players went on strike over a labor dispute, but the unprecedented fiasco did unfurl under his watch.

Owners wanted a salary cap and other changes in a new collective bargaining agreement, which the players' union opposed. The union set a mid-August strike deadline, and when the two sides couldn't agree to a new deal, the players walked out.

With no deal in sight, MLB canceled the World Series for the first time in 90 years. The Expos, which had been in first place and cruising toward what would have been the franchise's first World Series, were denied their best chance to win a title.

The next year, attendance dropped by 20 percent as outraged fans decided to stay at home.

An All-Star Game tie

After 11 innings of play, the 2002 All-Star Game was knotted at 7-7. One problem: Both teams had run out of pitchers.

Rather than bend the rules to let the teams keep playing, Selig called the game a tie. Fans threw bottles on the field and chanted, "Bud must go!"

The following year, MLB updated the game's rules such that the winning league would be awarded home field advantage in the playoffs, promoting the contest with the slogan, "This time, it counts."

Interleague play

Starting in 1997, baseball began interleague play. The point was to create new rivalries and pit teams from the same city but opposite leagues against each other. Thus the Yankees finally had a chance to play the Mets, and the Cubs got to compete against the White Sox.

But the gimmick diluted the importance of intraleague games, and led to more uneven schedules. Teams don't play every interleague foe, meaning some get matched up with the Yankees, while others play pushovers.

Once the novelty wore off, fans began to tune out the noise. Because really, who wants to watch the Red Sox take on the Rockies in September?

No champagne showers

Celebrating: Fine. Spraying champagne all over each other: Balderdash.

The 79-year-old Selig is not a fan of teams having fun with bottles of bubbly, and would like to see the practice abolished.

"This is something I am not happy about: Spraying champagne all over," he told the Los Angeles Times last year. "I'm not a fan of that."

Which is a shame, because it means he's also probably anti-punting-beers-into-the-stands and anti-diving-in-other-teams'-pools as well.

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