The day before Alex Rodriguez makes his first Spring Training appearance, commissioner Bud Selig went on the record with Newsday to remind everyone that none of this steroid business could possibly be his fault.
Yes, Bud Selig has been the commissioner of baseball (first acting, than permanent) since 1992, which pretty much coincides with the beginning and end of what will forever be known as the "steroid era," but that doesn't mean he failed to do anything about it. I mean, they totally nailed Neifi Perez to the wall! Worst of all, when you say things like that it makes him feel bad.
"I don't want to hear the commissioner turned a blind eye to this or he didn't care about it," Selig said. "That annoys the you-know-what out of me. You bet I'm sensitive to the criticism. The reason I'm so frustrated is, if you look at our whole body of work, I think we've come farther than anyone ever dreamed possible."
That's true. I never dreamed that such a large number of fans would consider an entire decade of the sport to be essentially invalid. But hey ... he tried!
"I'm not sure I would have done anything differently," Selig said. "A lot of people say we should have done this or that, and I understand that. They ask me, 'How could you not know?' and I guess in the retrospect of history, that's not an unfair question. But we learned and we've done something about it. When I look back at where we were in '98 and where we are today, I'm proud of the progress we've made."
Selig said he pushed for a more stringent drug policy during the labor negotiations of 2002 but ultimately settled for a watered-down version out of fear that the players association would force another work stoppage.
"Starting in 1995, I tried to institute a steroid policy," Selig said. "Needless to say, it was met with strong resistance. We were fought by the union every step of the way."
See? It's the union's fault, of course! Just because the player's union holds Selig personally responsible for collusion (when he was owner of the Brewers) and that inherent mistrust has spoiled every labor negotiation of the last 20 years, that's no reason to blame the commissioner of the entire sport for not being able to negotiate a reasonable solution that might have rescued a small piece of the integrity of the game from being trampled like a Red Sox fan in the South Bronx.
He saved the All-Star Game, remember?