Like him or not, you can not debate the impact Bud Selig had on Major League Baseball during his long tenure as both acting and official Commissioner of Baseball which ran from September 1992 til January 2015. In that time, the changes that Selig brought to the game included:
- Realignment into three divisions and the institution of wild card entrants to the postseason (1994)
- Interleague play (1997)
- The expansion of 1998, which added one team to each league, Arizona (NL) and Tampa Bay (AL) and the resulting move of the Milwaukee Brewers (owned by Selig) from the AL to the NL (1998)
- Abolition of the two league offices and their presidencies and the pooling of both leagues’ umpires into one unit under the MLB office (2000)
- The unbalanced schedule (2001)
- Home field in the World Series determined by the winner of the All-Star Game (2003)
- Moving the Montreal Expos to Washington, DC where they became the Washington Nationals (2004)
- Dedicating April 15 as Jackie Robinson Day (2004)
- Stricter drug testing in response (albeit a delayed one) to the steroid problem in baseball (2005)
- World Baseball Classic (2006)
- Instant replay for home run calls (2008)
- Second wild-card team added (2012)
- Move of the Houston Astros to the American League, resulting in two 15-team leagues and season-long interleague play (2013)
- Expanded instant replay and the manager challenge system (2014)
That’s a lot of dramatic changes over the course of just over 20 years and many of those changes were controversial.
A Whole New Ballgame, an Out of the Park Baseball league, will begin with the 1993 season and see how things might have unfolded had these changes not taken place. This is not an indictment of the Selig era – for better or worse, the game is what it is today and wishful thinking isn’t going to change anything. It is worth noting that after the fiasco of the 1994 strike, Selig saw baseball through the longest period of labor peace since the end of the reserve clause era and MLB is more profitable than ever. Some of his ideas – Jackie Robinson Day is a prime example – were good ones. AWNB is a “what-if” exercise – a chance to play a more “traditional” brand of league with the players and teams of the past 25 years without things like interleague play, franchises shifting leagues and perhaps even with a slightly less “muscular” player pool.
Yearly recaps will be posted here, much like what is done with the Dugout Wizards league.