No deadline distractions from Selig's legacy quest

No deadline distractions from Selig's legacy quest
July 31, 2013, 2:30 pm
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Bud Selig is hoping that by punishing Alex Rodriguez he can erase the notion that he was the commissioner who looked the other way during the 'Steroid Era.' (AP)



The remaining money on Alex Rodriguez's contract will be a point of contention between the Yankees, their insurance company and the union. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

The San Francisco Giants announced with sadness today that the Miguel Cabrera-George Kontos deal is dead. The Oakland A’s, for their part, could not make the Matt Harvey-Adam Rosales trade pencil out.

Thus, we now know that the A’s are set for the postseason, and the Giants are doomed to be the first last-place team to go to the White House.

That’s the great part of the trade deadline. Getting nothing done means you’re satisfied, and doing something means you’re a player. It’s always been the perception, it is now, and it always will be.

But this market was largely a dry well, and many general managers all but said so a month ago. The few prizes – Jake Peavy, Bud Norris, L.J. Hoes (sorry, I had to do it) were distributed, and that was that.

This trade deadline, though, was really just a day’s respite from the real news – the Biogenesis Orgy. All the Alex Rodriguez you can be nauseated by, and all the sighs of relief when your favorite miscreant gets a pass.

Biogenesis is best understood when it is remembered that this is Bud Selig’s last best chance to convince people he wasn’t the Steroid Commissioner. It is a legacy dance, designed to move the insoluble matter of PEDs in sport to the next guy.

If there is a next guy. Selig’s next un-retirement will tie him with Sugar Ray Leonard for “just kiddings,” and he still likes being the commissioner as much as he ever did, even though he looks more and more like Emperor Franz Joseph every time you see him.

But all commissioners play to the history books, and nobody wants to be thought of as Happy Chandler, or Peter Ueberroth, or now that we know the full depth and breadth of his miserableness, Kenesaw Mountain Landis.

You know, the poor sap who let circumstances (or lack of ownership support, or just crummy ignore-the-right-thing-and-protect-the-company leadership) overtake him. Selig has been slaughtered over the years for many things, but he is nobody’s fool, the game has grown while he was in charge, and the only thing left for him to do is make a clean getaway.

Or stay forever. With Bud, you never fully know.

Biogenesis was designed to be his escape hatch from the burdens of the PED story, but one can only do so much to frame a goodbye. Biogenesis is in fact going to be the Alex Rodriguez Bloodbath, with a supreme individual narcissist fighting with the New York Yankees, the supreme team narcissists, over money everyone knows the team will have to pay him anyway.

Nobody ever truly cared about anyone else in the Biogenesis story, because even for the moralists, this was just a diversionary narrative. It was the weird end to the weird story of Alex Rodriguez, Talented Nutcase, and it took supreme efforts to remember that the Texas Rangers and Yankees combined to promise him almost a half-billion dollars to play baseball.

Which he did, usually very well. Now he’s done, though, and between being done and being Rodriguez, people want him disappeared. The Yankees want him gone without having to pay the final $89,000,000 they owe him, and their insurance company doesn’t want to pay him anything at all, and Rodriguez is going kicking and screaming until he gets his money.

So in the end Biogenesis ends up being not about baseball’s new interest in better monitoring those poor scientifically-indifferent players who haven’t caught on to the new undetectable PEDs, but about ridding the industry of its most expensive asset ever.

And with that as the backdrop, this trade deadline wasn’t going to offer much diversion at all. The A’s seem confident that Bartolo Colon will escape the scythe of suspension, so they could miss out on Jake Peavy, call it Alberto Callaspo and say it was a good day. The Giants could hang on to Javier Lopez in hopes of remustering its pitching staff for 2014 (2013 is dead, dead and more dead, in case you’re still wondering), and they could defer the Tim Lincecum and Hunter Pence decisions awhile longer.

In other words, nothing happened here, citizens. Then again, nothing much had been promised, so you can’t really feel like you got cheated – unless that’s how you normally roll, in which case we cannot really help you.

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