Selig got some 'splaining to do

JOE WARMINGTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:50 AM ET

So the commissioner wants to move on.

He sure does. But not so fast. You were in charge when the whole thing went on. And you did nothing.

"We should look forward now," Bud Selig said yesterday commenting on the Mitchell Report on cheating in baseball.

Sure, because it's Mr. Bud Selig who has been in charge of Major League Baseball since 1992. And he was doing some pretty good stick handling for a baseball guy yesterday.

"The players who were involved will have to live with it," Selig said with a straight face.

Really? Is he prepared to live with his end of it? His name is on former senator George Mitchell's list, too, for being one of the people at fault for letting this craziness go on.

Despite Mitchell asking for no repercussions for individual players, Selig tells reporters he wants to "review" and if it involves the "integrity of the game," he'll hand out discipline on a "case-by-case" basis.

Integrity of the game? What integrity? The list of cheaters is so long the printer broke.

What game? The game where players were so juiced up that four-decade-old records were broken at will? The game that was basically dead in 1994 but resurrected thanks to body builders with bats? Billions were made. But it was not real.

"It will be known as the steroid era," Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins told me yesterday. "There will be a stigma to it. This is going to tarnish them."

And the Chatham native said as a voting member of the veteran's committee that if any of these players are ever on his ballot, they won't get his nod.

"I would probably vote no to be honest," he said. "It's cheating. It's not fair to get an edge from a lab."

The game of baseball is in shambles. And the situation is in an even bigger crisis than it was prior to the delivery of this ridiculous Mitchell report that offers very little of anything new and talks even less about what wasn't done since a reporter found a jar of a strange strength-enhancing supplement in slugger Mark McGwire's locker.

A blind eye was turned. It was too big a show to stop. I was there in the bleachers when McGwire hit home run No. 62 and still have my ticket. It was one of my all-time great moments. Turns out it was all a fraud. That was 1998 -- nine baseball seasons ago and plenty of time for Selig to do something.

The fact that he didn't means he's as much a part of this debacle as any player on that list.

The worst part is the $14-million-a-year commissioner had his chance to solve this by declaring an amnesty and calling for a truth and reconciliation program, where players and management could tell the truth in exchange for a clean slate. They could have cleaned up the game together.

There was no need for this circus and witchhunt, which now have players fighting for their reputations -- with the more famous ones with the most to lose.

Imagine releasing all of these names and then saying they'll be dealt with case by case. How does that work exactly? The players who were better at cheating are disciplined differently than the ones who were not quite as good at it? Or is it based on how well liked you are?

What a mess!

"I think (former Blue Jays and Major League Baseball executive) Paul Beeston should be brought in to implement the recommendations," Jack Dominico, president and owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs baseball team, said yesterday. "I really think Beeston should be the commissioner."

And that should happen today. If Selig is not classy enough to admit the buck stops with him and all of this drug use and cheating was happening under his watch, the decision should be made for him. There is no way that Barry Bonds gets to be the only fall guy in this. It's just not right.

Many fans agree. I found one website called Resign Bud Selig -- complete with a line through his face.

"I just can't ever feel the same way about the game," lifelong fan Barry Godin said at the Ido Cafe in Mississauga. "This isn't the game I grew up with and loved as a kid. To me Hank Aaron's all-time record is the one that will count."

And same goes for Roger Maris' single-season record.

I mention Dominico, of the 2007 Intercounty champion Maple Leafs, today because it's very difficult to find anybody in baseball who isn't tarnished by this. But Dominico and his wife, Lynn, have run the team at Christie Pits for 40 years for the love of it. This was a dark day for them.

"It hurt because we are baseball purists," Dominico said. "Anybody who cheats in this great game disgusts us."

It's a big list, Jack. And lots of people, from top to bottom, to be disgusted with.


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