December 7, 2009
Commissioner Bud Selig announced last week that he will retire as Commissioner of Major League Baseball in 2012, when he will reach 78 years of age. He was originally scheduled to step down at the end of this year, but the MLB owners persuaded him to stay on for three more years. That means Selig will be in charge of negotiations with the Major League players association, as the current contract ends after the 2011 season; see October 2006. Selig says he would like to teach college, and in fact he taught a course last year. See MLB.com.
So, what are Mr. Selig's main accomplishments over the course of his (thus far) 17-year tenure as Chief Executive of Baseball? Here's a cynical review:
Maybe I shouldn't be so hard on Bud; it's not like he actively sought the position, after all. Our National Pastime is clearly in desperate need of a strong leader who can stand up against the short-sighted owners who are largely to blame for most of what ails the sport today. Former President George W. Bush has expressed interest in such a position, but his record as president raises questions about whether he is the best man for the job. Any other ideas out there?
After scrutinizing a variety of sources, I have revised the Metrodome diagrams. The profile is much more accurate than before, thanks in part to some construction photos posted on baseball-fever.com, and the grandstand is about ten feet deeper than I previously estimated. Finally, there are now three brand-new diagram versions: one for the original configuration (1982), one showing the roof (just as there will be eventually for all domed stadiums), and one for basketball! While watching some Vikings home games on TV recently, it appears that the "cutout" behind home plate has been filled in with extra rows of seats, so I may modify the football version diagram. The Metrodome page is sponsored by loyal fan Mark London. (Hint!)
Now that the Minnesota Twins have left the Metrodome, only two MLB ballparks with artificial turf remain: Tropicana Field and Rogers Centre. So, I also updated the Turf page to reflect that.
And as for the Twins' future home, on the other side of downtown Minneapolis, the Minnesota Ballpark Authority has a fascinating "slide show" with the latest photos from Target Field; link via baseball-fever.com.