Sunday, September 28, 2008

Last day of the season, but do I care?

Appearances to the contrary, this man and I rarely agree.

It's the last day of the 2008 MLB season and there are still two playoff spots up for grabs. Minnesota and the Chicago White Sox are split by less than a game in the American League Central Division and Milwaukee and the New York Mets are tied for the National League Wild Card going into play this morning. Exciting stuff, with potential tiebreakers and makeup games in the mix tomorrow.

The scenarios are enticing, and it will be fun to watch the Twins and ChiSox (and possibly the Tigers if a makeup game proves necessary) battle it out. Less enticing to me is the possibility of the Milwaukee Brewers making the playoffs for the first time since Harvey's Wallbangers.

I just can't bring myself to root for the Brewers, despite them being the type of underdog I would normally support. I still think they belong in the American League, for one thing. But the biggest reason I can't support them is their long affiliation with the Selig family. Formerly owned -- in a huge conflict of interest -- by the commissioner but since sold, I still can't shake the affiliation.

Bud Selig has had hits and misses as commissioner, but I will never be able to forgive him for helping to push the Expos out the door in Montreal. It was a short-sighted move by someone who claimed he wanted to "internationalize" baseball, yet did nothing to help MLB's first international team. I was a strong supporter of the Expos in their final years and Selig's legacy will always be tainted by their failure.

So I can't root for the Brewers in any situation. Much like my irritation about the 2003 World Series, which pitted the Florida Marlins (owned by former [terrible] Expos owner Jeffrey Loria) and the New York Yankees (owned, of course, by George Steinbrenner), I can't separate a good team from their owner (or former owner).

Yet there's another problem. I used to attend as many as 10-15 MLB games per year (being in a two-team market made this easy). I cut my attendance back a bit when the Expos were shooed out of existence, but still made around five games or so per season. This year, however, I went to only two games (in San Francisco in April and in San Diego in June) -- I never even made it to Oakland this season (and I might never go again if they move form Oakland into a new, BART-unfriendly ballpark).

Major League Baseball hasn't quite lost its appeal to me, but with the steroid scandals, the movement of the Expos and other issues, it's going to have to try harder to keep me around.

No comments: