Yeah you heard me right. I’m giving thanks to Bud Selig

I’ve never been a Bud Selig fan.
I didn’t like him when he was a colluding owner.
I didn’t like how he led the cabal to push Fay Vincent out of office.
I didn’t like his role in the 1994 strike and 1995 lockout.
I didn’t like his role in the contraction talk.
I thought he looked like a buffoon in the 2002 All Star Game.
I thought he looked like a liar during the steroid controversy.
I thought he looked like a jackass during the 2008 World Series rain delays.

I know nit picking.

So when I actually praise him, that’s time to perk up and listen.

As the NBA is taking the scorched earth approach in its strike, something the NFL narrowly avoided and 7 years after the NHL cancelled an entire season and is desperately trying to crawl back to relevancy, baseball signed a new CBA.

That’s it.

It had such little controversy that it took the back seat to discussing whether or not a starting pitcher should win the MVP.

And that EXACTLY what people should be discussing.

So we know that the 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 seasons will be played without hearing talks about strikes, lockouts or interrupted play.

Baseball had work stoppages in 1972 (the year I was born), 1981, 1985 (for one day) and the disaster of 1994 and the madhouse of replacement players in 1995.

I was 23 years old when the players went back to work.
I am 39 now. And baseball hasn’t stopped playing.

16 straight seasons.

Now keep in mind my formula that you don’t follow a team day in and day out until you are 8 years old, that means any baseball fan 24 years or younger have no memory of haggling players, lawyers, Don Fehr or Selig talking about revenue or anything like that.

The NBA will soon learn that fans aren’t really sympathetic to any side during a recession haggling over distribution of millions of dollars.

So there will be at least 21 seasons of labor peace.

And the new CBA will include an expanded playoff (which I think could be a good idea.)
Possibility of expanded instant replay is included (which I’ve been SCREAMING about.)

And there will be HGH testing. (I am randomly putting a picture of Albert Pujols here. Not sure why.)

So if Selig could preside over nearly a quarter of a century of Labor Peace after such a disastrous first few seasons of acrimony and deception as commissioner, then I have to give him credit.

If those seasons would mean lots of different champions (2/3 of all teams have won at least one playoff series since 2001 and there have been 9 different champions in the past 11 seasons) then I have to give him credit.

If the A’s and Giants can work out the San Jose deal (which looks like it will happen) and the Dodgers and Mets ownerships can be sorted out, that would leave only the Rays in a bad place in terms of their stadium and survival.

So it doesn’t happen often, Mr. Selig.
I’m giving thanks for what you’ve done.

I’ve not been thrilled with the method… but maybe in the end the result will outweigh the other stuff.

And whoever is in charge of baseball in 2016… please keep the peace.
The only strikes being called should be by the umpires.

Happy Thanksgiving, readers.
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Verlander deserved it… so did Pedro

I got a text message when Justin Verlander won the MVP from my Red Sox fan buddy Kenny Mack (a brilliant writer in his own right.)
It just said “Pedro is upset.”
He wasn’t the only Red Sox fan who expressed anger about Verlander winning the MVP as a starting pitcher when Pedro Martinez was snubbed in 1999.
Yes I know Pedro’s season was superior to Verlander’s and Pudge Rodriguez should not have that trophy on his mantle.
But instead of grumbling that Pedro getting hosed should mean EVERY starting pitcher should be disqualified, why not say “Pedro opened their eyes.”
The mentality that only an all time great season (in the middle of the Steroid Era no less) is the bar for a starting pitcher to win the MVP is no different than the insanity of not putting in a Hall of Famer unanimously because “If Ruth didn’t get 100% of the vote than nobody should.”
Seriously, Pedro deserved it. We all know that. And not the VOTERS know that. It’s kind of like when Morgan Freeman didn’t win the Oscar for The Shawshank Redemption but later won for Million Dollar Baby. Obviously that was a makeup call.
Well this is a make up call as well. As if the voters are saying “Sometimes the most valuable plater IS a starting pitcher.”
Which big game everyday player made a bigger impact that Verlander? The Red Sox collapse prevents Jacoby Ellsbury from winning. Jose Bautista had a great year, but was it so great to wipe out a mediocre season by the Blue Jays? Miguel Cabrera? He had a great season to be sure and would probably be my #1 choice outside of Verlander.
But sometimes the most valuable player can be a starting pitcher.
Obviously there are his tremendous stats.
Obviously he saved the bullpen so many nights.
And of course the key to winning any division is to win lots of 3 game series.
And Verlander pitched twice every six games, which put the Tigers in a great position to have at least one win in each series.
And yeah, a hitter has 600-700 plate appearances while a starter only pitches in 35 games.
But Verlander FACED 969 batters. Isn’t that kind of like 969 plate appearances? Except he can’t take a seat after each one.
I get it, pitchers have the Cy Young Award and that should be enough.
Most years it is. Most years the player who made the biggest impact is indeed an everyday player.
Some years it is a starting pitcher.
In 1986 Clemens was the MVP. He deserved it.
I believe Hershiser had a huge argument for it in 1988.
Sorry Barry Larkin, but Greg Maddux was the NL MVP in 1995.
Pedro deserved it over Pudge Rodriguez in 1999.
And Verlander earned it this year. If he didn’t win, I wouldn’t have been upset. But he did and I think it was a smart vote.
And it was NOT a snub of Pedro.
It showed the voters were educated by him.

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