LaVerneOnline Welcomes Sports Columnist Brad ‘The Sports Philospher’ Eastland

April 1, 2009
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The Sports Philospher Brad Eastland launches his new column for LaVerneOnline.

The Sports Philospher Brad Eastland launches his new column for LaVerneOnline.

Brad Eastland, t.s.p, is an author, historian, film buff, and sports nut, in no particular order.  He has written four novels and over 20 short-stories.  Here at LaVerne Online, Brad’s column will seek to entertain you and allow you to view the world via the glad aegis of Sport. Look for his weekly sporting perspective in LaVerneOnline unless Major League Baseball calls on Brad as a suitable replacement for Bud Selig, who happens to be the subject of his  first featured article.











While Brad argues for the Commissioner’s ouster, you may have a different opinion. As always, LaVerneOnline invites diverse opinions, as long as they promote healthy discussion and are not of malicious or libelous intent. Brad’s books are listed at the end of his column.

by Brad Eastland, The Sports Philsopher

Squish the Commish

 Welcome to LaVerne Online, everybody.

      I, for one, am happy to be on board.  Let’s see if we can’t all learn a little bit more about the world around us, by using the world of Sports as sort of a litmus test for more important issues.  (After all, Sports is usually more fun than reality anyway, and usually makes more sense.  It’s worth a try.)

     Where to start?  Well, I figured since the start of another baseball season is upon us, and since baseball’s credibility is squarely in the toilet nowadays, it made sense for me to do my annual column on those most ardent and wackiest of bedfellows, Bud Selig and Steroids. It seems as long as Bud has a job in baseball I will be forever be striving to remedy that sad circumstance.

      Because the Steroids issue, for me, indeed all comes down to baseball commissioner Bud Selig.  Typically, Bud and his boys are still blaming the Steroids Era on everyone from players to trainers to owners to bat-boys to the second gunman on the Grassy Knoll.  Everyone except Bud himself, that is.  And strangely, 99% of our nation’s sportswriters are continually blaming the same sad, usual suspects rather than Bud.  As if Bud is coated in Teflon.  As if he employs some sort of secret death squad to keep pesky reporters in line.

      I have a different view.  Simply stated, if baseball is ever to reclaim the reverence, respect, credibility, and passionate fan allegiance it enjoyed during its Golden Age (1947 to 1969), one basic, immutable truth is clear:
      Bud Selig must no longer be allowed to remain Commissioner of Baseball.

Witness Protection Plan

      I don’t care if he resigns, is fired, is impeached, is stuffed & mounted, or is placed directly into the Witness Protection Program.  But whatever the method he must, must, must, be cashiered.

      How else can baseball move on?  The top dog always has to take the fall if his regime is corrupt, is laughable, or is merely a complete disgrace, it has always been that way, throughout history and in every walk of life.  It’s called accountability.  When a major corporation is caught with its pants down, the CEO disappears.  When a movie studio fails to make money or puts out a poor product, the studio head steps down.  When a dictatorship is quashed, the dictator himself is either killed or imprisoned.  (Well, that’s assuming you don’t count Saddam in ’91….and look how well that turned out, right?)  But the point is, in tough times the top dog bow-wows out.  It’s the way of the world.  It’s expected.
      It even happens with heads of state.  When the Republicans screwed up the Watergate thing in ’74, Nixon had to take the fall.  So he resigned rather than be impeached.  He had to, or no one would have ever trusted the system again.  (And because he left, and left without a fight, the Republicans were only asked to vacate the White House for four years, whereupon in 1981 they moved right back in and stayed for twelve years more.)

      Same in sports.   When a football or baseball team makes losing a habit, the coach is canned.  You don’t fire the players.  You get a new coach, a new manager; a new “commissioner” for your team, as it were.  Doesn’t matter what your resume says; just ask Mike Shanahan, John Gruden, and Joe Torre.  No one is exempt.
      It should be the same with Bud Selig.

      Bud and his bad haircut should be made to pay for presiding over the biggest baseball scandal since the Black Sox.  He was clearly the chief enabler of this era, fawning and drooling away like everybody else over those absurdly muscular sluggers, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, as they “saved” baseball in ’98 with their suspiciously often and questionably long home runs, with Selig always looking the other way whenever whispers of steroid use eddied in his comical, over-sized ears.  He knew.  This is a former owner of a team, the commissioner of the sport, the ultimate insider, of course he knew!  But over the years he’s always said he kinda sorta didn’t, which makes him either kinda sorta a dope or kinda sorta a liar.  Or at the very least a sly hypocrite.

Bring on the asterisk*

      It can be argued that Bud Selig is in fact the greatest hypocrite in sports history.  This is the guy who acted like there was no problem and said there was no problem even though he enabled the problem and looked the other way because baseball was finally raking in big money again because of the problem and so he marketed and encouraged the problem and then a few years later when it suddenly really was a problem he simply about-faced himself and declared it was a problem and then hired investigators to research the problem so that he could blame other folks besides himself for the problem and seek to ruin their careers and maybe even put demeaning *asterisks next to the names of these players who had merely accepted his gracious enabling of their problem just so he and the rest of us could feel better and so maybe then the problem would just go away and he could still get to be commissioner at eighteen million clams a year and maybe even come to be seen, ultimately, incredibly, as the man who solved the problem and cleaned up the sport.  Sheesh….what a con man.  (You know what?  For the rest of this column the name *Selig gets an asterisk next to it.  My god, it works….I do feel better!)
      So anyway, why do sports writers and TV talking heads and baseball media hacks around the country continue to give this guy a free pass???  Well, not me.  I say *Selig must go.
      It’s a funny thing: when *Selig tries to claim that he kinda sorta knew there were steroids somewhere but “had no idea” the magnitude of the problem, I can’t help thinking of Ronnie Reagan and Iran/Contra.  In case you’ve already forgotten the Iran/Contra affair, briefly it was that thing back in the 80s when America sold arms to Iran (our avowed enemy) in exchange for getting our hostages out of there (which didn’t work) so that we could in turn use the dough to finance a counter-revolution in Nicaragua (totally illegal).  It was a big scandal, there were investigations and trials and congressional hearings and firings and suicides and scapegoats and everything.  Reagan, of course, claimed that he didn’t know anything about it.  Didn’t know anything about a gigantic military cabal to sell arms to an enemy country.  To get our hostages back.  To finance an illegal war in Central America.  Sure.  The friggin’ President of the United States.  Of course he later admitted he did know.  Which means he kinda sorta lied.  Except that he said it didn’t have anything to do with hostages (another lie).  But hey, it doesn’t even matter.  Either he knew what was going on and let it happen, or he didn’t even know what was going on in his own administration.
      Which means Ron was either the main culprit or he was totally clueless and incompetent.

      That’s exactly the way I feel about *Selig.  Either he’s the main culprit, or he’s totally clueless and incompetent!  There is no other possibility.  He’s guilty either way.  Either way, it makes him both wholly unqualified to police the sport as its commissioner and decidedly not noble enough to represent the sport as its commissioner.  I say let’s get rid of him.

Past his time

      Baseball is a sport that needs to be cleansed; not so much cleansed of steroids, but rather cleansed of the stench of hypocrisy and bad stewardship.  To effectively move into a new era, baseball needs to rid itself of the trappings of the old.  But how can baseball fans ever trust the sport again, in the post-Steroids Era, as long as the #1 villain of the Steroids Era still runs the asylum?
      “Baseball is America’s pastime because of the trust placed in this sport by its fans.”  No more eloquent words were ever spoken.  That’s why nothing would go further towards reclaiming and preserving that trust than *Selig stepping down.  If he means what he says, that is.
      Because that quote belongs to *Selig himself.

      I’m talking to you now, Bud.  If you resign, baseball gains a ton of credibility.  You’ve always said that nothing means more to you than “the integrity of the game”.  You mean it, Bud?  Do you really mean it?  Because if you do, I say nothing would send a stronger message to baseball fans than you going away.  You would essentially be saying, “Whatever happened, I was in charge.  It was on my watch, and I think for the integrity of the game and to more effectively turn the page I should step aside and let a new commissioner lead us into the next glorious era of baseball,” or something weepy and heroic like that.  I’m telling you, Bud, do as I say and they’ll begin chiseling your bust for Cooperstown toot sweet.

      You can do your beloved sport a great service, Bud, simply by realizing you need to go.  C’mon, man.  Help us out.  Oh—and please do something about that haircut….‘gotta be the worst haircut in American sports.


Samples of Brad’s fiction work can be discovered within the links below:

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