Bud Selig really is retired, at last. And baseball’s new commissioner, Rob Manfred, isn’t an incumbent or former owner. Selig, you may remember, owned the Milwaukee Brewers when he helped engineer the putsch that sent Fay Vincent out of the commissioner’s office. He then became baseball’s longest serving commissioner since Kenesaw Mountain Landis. And his legacy is at least as mixed as Landis’s was.
There is no joy in Wrigleyville. Mighty Ernie has checked out. At 83. Cub fans aren’t the only ones in baseball’s world who think that, for Ernie Banks, it’s still too young to go.
Winning with class is easy compared to losing with grace, good humour, and the inner peace of knowing you did the best you could with what you had. But then there was Banks. The prototype of the power-hitting shortstop whose knees turned him into a first baseman who could still hit but had to prove himself every spring, anyway, his sunny nature couldn’t be killed by the most calamitous of Cub collapses.
Almost a year ago enough of baseball thought Max Scherzer might be a little crazy for spurning the Detroit Tigers’ $160 million contract extension offer in favour of playing the market to come. Now more than half of baseball seem to think both Scherzer and the Washington Nationals were crazy like foxes..
Free agency is a crap shoot. Scherzer gambled and won big enough. The question before the house, however, is how much the Nats stand to win or lose with Scherzer aboard. And the answer just might be that Scherzer wins big but the Nats win ridiculous.