High school and college football are just around the corner.
The Bears are in the middle of their preseason schedule.
There is excitement in the air for football, football, FOOTBALL!!!!
So I am going to talk about baseball.
Major League Baseball owners voted in Rob Manfred as the new commissioner to replace Bug Selig come January.
Last Thursday, St. Louis Cardinals Chairman Bill DeWitt told reporters that Selig was “the greatest commissioner in baseball history.’’
Some of you may be wetting your pants laughing at that statement.
But it’s not that far off the mark.
Since Selig has been the boss in 1992, some lousy things went on under his watch. Steroids, a baseball strike in 1994 that wiped out the World Series and his goofy response of declaring the game a tie during extra innings of an All-Star game are three lowlights to his career that some fans will never forgive or forget.
But history has a way of forgiving and forgetting. And as time passes, a new generation of baseball fans will be sitting in those seats at ballparks not knowing much at all about that stuff. I’m sure Kenesaw Mountain Landis – baseball’s first commish – had his warts but do we care now?
Happy Chandler, his successor probably didn’t make everyone happy either. Ford Frick made some fans use another word that begins with ‘f’ when in 1961 he decided that since so many players were challenging Babe Ruth’s single-season home run record he was going to separate the records for 154- and 162-game seasons.
And what the heck was Bowie Kuhn thinking by giving one league the designated hitter and not the other? That is still the dumbest thing in baseball and sports in general.
The first eight gents who occupied the hot seat all had their bad points and Selig, the ninth guy, certainly had his.
But Allan Huber “Bud” Selig also introduced the wild card to the sport, which jacked up interest in September for a lot more teams and fan bases. And some wild card teams even won the World Series.
Selig also helped start interleague play in 1997. To have a National League team play an American League team during the regular season? The Cubs playing the Sox? The Mets playing the Yankees?
It was unheard of before ’97.
And the use of replays, which is recent and heavily criticized for messing up the purity of the game, may prove to be a success years from now.
The innovative stuff that he accomplished will far outweigh his blemishes years down the line.
Believe it or not, history will be kind to this guy.
A lot kinder than it is to him now.
Breaking the jinx
Last summer, Cubs outfielder David DeJesus visited sick kids at Advocate Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn.
Soon after, he was traded. Twice.
During the winter, Cubs pitcher Edwin Jackson visited sick kids at the same hospital. Last year, he was 8-18 with a 4.98 ERA and this year – after the visit -- he was 6-13 with a 5.74 ERA in his first 25 starts and is in danger of losing his starting spot.
But on July 28, outfield Chris Coghlan, a lifetime .272 hitter, visited the hospital and in the following 16 games, he hit .322 with 10 doubles, three homers and 12 RBI.
Phew. Glad to see this wasn’t an ACH jinx.
Does anyone out there miss A-Rod?