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Did Selig allow MLB to become the WWE?

Dan Wetzel
Yahoo Sports

Bud Selig, as the commissioner of baseball, turned a blind eye to steroid abuse and didn't care about it.

"I don't want to hear the commissioner turned a blind eye to this or he didn't care about it," Selig told Newsday.

"That annoys the you-know-what out of me."

Good, let's get the you-know-what out of the way because it's annoying to listen to a guy whine after he helped baseball turn into something comparable to professional wrestling.

"In the early '90s, the federal government came into pro wrestling and tried to put Vince McMahon in prison for steroid use of wrestlers," Jesse Ventura, former Minnesota governor and pro wrestler told the online news program, Your Turn.

"My question is: They've now determined 104 baseball players failed their steroid test in 2003 – 104! They indicted Vince McMahon, why aren't they indicting Bud Selig?"

Bud Selig, Vince McMahon, MLB, WWE, all in the same quote. Ah, what a legacy. Just like wrestling, the last 15 years of baseball saw champions crowned, games won and records broken for reasons other than fair athletic competition.

Baseball hasn't been an actual sport in years. The guy in charge of what will go down as the game's worst era since systematic racial discrimination is so conceited he's trying to claim don't blame me, I just run the place.

"The reason I'm so frustrated," Selig said, "is, if you look at our whole body of work, I think we've come farther than anyone ever dreamed possible."

Indeed, who'd have ever dreamed that Alex Rodriguez would hold a nationally televised press conference to detail his performance-enhancing drug regimen, all while an ex-Congressman was claiming Roger Clemens was about to be charged with lying under oath, all while Barry Bonds was preparing for a federal perjury trial, all while Miguel Tejada is awaiting his sentence, all while …

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Pamela Anderson.
(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

McMahon, who beat the conspiracy to distribute steroids charges in 1994, actually ran an honest operation compared to Selig. While Hulk Hogan may have claimed he was just "eating his vitamins," anyone over the age of 12 understood the entire thing was make-believe, just entertainment.

Not Selig. Not baseball. They clung to an illusion they either knew wasn't true or should've known wasn't true. When confronted repeatedly with facts that the game was a sham, they reacted at a glacial pace.

Selig is so surrounded by yes-men and so comforted by apologists in the media – or organizations willing to suspend anyone who mocks him – that he believes his own lunacy.

All that buzz that the players were juiced? Selig claims he asked a couple of "good baseball men" and heard all the guys with Popeye arms hitting moon shots were the product of the bat or the ball or just talent.

It's like the producers of "Baywatch" saying they thought Pam Anderson was all natural.

Like Selig, the producers counted the money because the public doesn't always care. That's Bud's echo chamber defense – look at the financial health of the game! Fine, Selig made baseball money, loads of it. If, like McMahon, he wants to be judged on that alone, strip-mining the sport for profits, then fine.

He can't leave it at that though. He seeks justification that he is really some guardian of the game, a moral crusader who is saving America's pastime, the innocent victim who couldn't notice what so many people in baseball claim was impossible to ignore.

He's the one claiming it was A-Rod alone that "shamed the game."

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Former professional wrestler Jesse (The Body) Ventura is shown in full regalia in this photo taken from the WWF's "The Wrestling Album" released in 1985.
(AP Photo)

"You can't tell me for one minute that Bud Selig and the owners didn't know," Ventura said.

Consider that in 1998, Rick Helling, then of the Texas Rangers, asked everyone at a union executive meeting, "Are you serious? Can't you see what's going on? Are you seriously going to let these guys get away with it?' " according to Joe Torre's book "The Yankee Years."

That's not a whisper campaign, that's someone shouting from the mountain top. Selig wasn't at that meeting, of course, but does anyone believe that in an era of that kind of confrontation neither he nor his people ever heard any stories from anyone about anything?

"[In the mid-1990s] most major league players were confident that [MLB] knew what was going on," wrote steroid dealer Kirk Radomski in his book "Bases Loaded." "The implied message was that if baseball was going to allow Bonds and [Mark] McGwire and [Jose] Canseco to get away with it, why shouldn't they do it?"

Selig is trying to pull A-Rod's initial defense – "talk to the union" – and yes, MLBPA leader Donald Fehr is Selig's partner scourge to the sport. But this is where Selig doesn't understand a thing. He points to his inability to get the union to move on the issue as strictly the union's fault.

"We were fought by the union every step of the way," he said.

This is why Selig should've resigned upon completion of the labor dispute that caused the 1994 World Series to be canceled.

His arrogance kept him on the job even though he lacked the ability to do it. The union wasn't going to work with him. They didn't trust him.

If there really was nothing he could've done, it was just proof why someone else should've been doing it. Yet Selig wouldn't, and won't to this day, do the proper thing and step down.

Even as the game has pushed to clean things up, Selig has been uneven. His outrage is about defending his legacy and little else. He funded the Mitchell Report, but if not for the IRS forcing Radomski to talk, it would've just been a public relations ploy.

"Baseball had set up Senator George Mitchell to fail," Radomski wrote. "Baseball did everything possible to make sure he wouldn't prove anything. … The Mitchell Report was supposed to be a whitewash.

"[It] would state that whatever problems with steroids there are in baseball, they were isolated or already dealt with."

There was one problem.

"Baseball didn't plan on me getting involved," Radomski wrote.

Baseball's straw man commissioner never was very good at planning.

Now he's left dealing with scandal after scandal, wild calls for his indictment and a place in history that will paint him as one the worst things to ever befall the game.

All he can do is count his money, stomp his loafers in protest and hope someone outside his cadre of sycophants will buy a single word of his you-know-what defense.

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