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A TALE OF THE PRESIDENT AND THE CON MAN

By Murray Chass

December 9, 2018

As the George H.W. Bush funeral train stood in front of the Bush library at Texas A&M last Thursday and George W. Bush stood reverently and lovingly waiting for his father’s casket to be removed, I couldn’t help but think, “This man could have been commissioner of Major League Baseball.”

George W. Bush wanted to be commissioner of Major League Baseball, but Bud Selig wouldn’t let him. Selig wouldn’t let him because he wanted to be commissioner himself and he refused to give Bush the nod he was waiting for. Blocked in his genuine desire to succeed Fay Vincent, who had been forced out of office by a gang of misguided owners led by Selig and Jerry Reinsdorf, Bush turned to politics instead. He became governor of Texas and subsequently president of the United States. Thank you, Mr. Selig.

It’s not a new story; it’s an old story, a 25-year-old story. But it’s worth retelling in light of the focus on the Bush family last week in the aftermath of the death of the 94-year-old George H. W. Bush, a.k.a. Bush 41.

I was not a fan of Bush 43, but I did like Bush the managing partner of the Texas Rangers. That Bush was good for baseball and would have been good for baseball had he become commissioner. But Selig blocked his way so he himself could become the commissioner, and in those days whatever Bud wanted Bud got.

Maybe if Selig ever finishes the book he has said for years he was writing, he will acknowledge the Bush story as being true, but that’s not very likely. Selig has never admitted anything that puts him in an unfavorable light, and that list of lies includes collusion of the Selig-dominated 1980s, which cost him and his fellow owner-thieves $280 million.

In an abbreviated version of the Bush story, Bush expressed a desire to become commissioner after the owners ousted Vincent in 1992 to prevent him from getting in their way when they tried to bust the union in the 1994 negotiations. Bush thought he had Selig’s support, but Selig kept putting him off.

At the same time …

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MANFRED KNOWS WHAT HE’S DOING. WANNA BET?

By Murray Chass

December 2, 2018

I don’t know the derivation of the goofy saying that someone is turning over in his grave, but right now Bowie Kun must be turning over in his grave.

As commissioner from 1969 to 1984, Kuhn was so adamantly opposed to Major League Baseball having any link to gambling he banned Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle from the game because they had public relations jobs with Atlantic City casinos. After he was retired as commissioner, he criticized a successor, Fay Vincent, for allowing Lotto signs in ball parks.

Today, M.L.B. has a commissioner, Rob Manfred, who has sold his soul for a mess of pottage, in this case, millions of dollars that he negotiated to gain from MGM Resorts International as a sponsor of M.L.B. In that regard, Manfred is the third commissioner of a professional sports league to …

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DOES HE GET A ‘B’ FOR BEST OR AN ‘M.V.P.’?

By Murray Chass

November 25, 2018

A week ago I explored the reasons baseball writers so consistently voted for Mike Trout either for the most valuable player award or high up on the list of players considered for the award. Responses from 10 of the 24 writers who placed Trout first, second or third made it clear that writers were not voting for the most valuable player but for the best player. That was a change from the years when I was an M.V.P. voter.

One response in particular made that change clear. Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County (Calif.) Register wrote:

“In short, I believe ‘most valuable’ and ‘best’ are the same thing. That’s how it works if you’re discussing the value of anything else. I don’t know where the word ‘valuable’ got twisted into …

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