Bud Selig, who was commissioner of baseball from 1992 to 2015, was very unhappy when Barry Bonds approached and passed Henry Aaron’s all-time home run record in 2007. Very unhappy.
According to excerpts released by Sports Illustrated from Selig’s new book, “For the Good of the Game,” Selig writes, “This wasn’t the Bataan Death March. Nobody was going to die or be forced into hard labor. But the summer of 2007 was unpleasant for me, and when I look back, that’s putting it mildly. It was one of the few times in my life I wasn’t excited about going to ballparks, and if you know me that’s all you need to know.”
Selig wasn’t happy that Bonds was one of the players fans pointed to most often when complaining about the use of performance-enhancing drugs in the game. But that wasn’t all.
“Along the way, I had a lot of time to think about the differences between Barry Bonds, who simply wasn’t likable, and Henry Aaron, who had been such a giant on the field and now was the same way off the field, carrying himself with as much poise as humility. I have called myself a friend of Henry’s since 1958 and burst with pride every time I speak about him.”
Gee, if only there were someone in charge at the time who could have really cracked down on the use of PEDs. Someone who could be in charge of the sport and make decisions based on the good of the game. They could call that person a “commissioner of baseball” or something like that.
Selig actually writes about that a bit.
“I know some people will forever link me with Barry Bonds. Some will say baseball’s failure to limit the impact of steroids quicker is my failure. They may even call me the steroid commissioner.
“That’s okay, I guess.
“It’s not fair, I don’t like it, but I’ve come to understand it. Did I understand the dimension of the problem from the beginning? No. But did other longtime, well-respected executives, like John Schuerholz and Andy MacPhail? No, they didn’t, and they say that.”
The old “but he didn’t do anything about it either” excuse. Favored by children around the world.
And in this corner….
A lot of people compare MMA to professional wrestling, and the comparison will get a little easier later this year.
UFC Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz will fight for the Combate Americas promotion later this year. His opponent: former World Wrestling Entertainment champion Alberto Del Rio. Combate Americas CEO Campbell McLaren told reporters that no date or location had been set, but the fourth quarter of 2019 is the target.
Ortiz, 44, is one of the biggest stars in MMA history. Del Rio, 42, has not had an MMA fight since 2010, focusing his attention on his pro wrestling career since then. He left WWE in 2016. He competed in MMA with the Pride FC promotion in Japan in 2003 and 2004 under a mask as Dos Caras Jr., the name he used while wrestling in Mexico. He wore a mask while fighting for Pride FC. It was a different world then.
Ortiz is 20-12-1 in his MMA career, Del Rio is 9-5.
“The fight is going to happen,” Mike Afromowitz, Combate Americas vice president of operations and communications, told MMA Junkie. “I came up with the idea a few months ago, after Alberto had expressed his intention of wanting to fight for Combate Americas, and brought the idea to my boss Campbell McLaren. We went out to both camps and have put this fight together. It’s on.”
No word as to whether it will be a steel cage or “loser leaves town” match.