Money sure is good
Juan C. Rodriguez
Under Selig's watch, the sport's revenues have ballooned from $1.4 billion (1995) to $7 billion (2010). From 1995-00, in the aftermath of the last work stoppage, those revenues on average rose 19.5 percent annually.
Selig's tenure has endured a few hiccups. He, like others in the game, did nothing to curb the steroid era during the power-hitting renaissance.
The All-Star Game determining home-field advantage for the World Series remains unpopular. But his successes — including the World Baseball Classic, interleague play, two decades of labor peace and soon to be expanded playoffs — outweigh his failures.
Still has work to do
Selig loves his work and he does it very well. Sooner or later, he's going to have to walk away — for his good, not the game's.
But that time is not now. There's no reason the 77-year-old Selig shouldn't accept the owners' offer of a two-year contract extension.
He has plenty of work to keep him busy — in particular the stadium issues in Oakland and Tampa Bay and the ownership issues of the Dodgers and Mets — and he's likes to be busy. He has a solid corps of longtime second-in-commands. He's trusted by owners and the players. He won't be around forever, but there's no reason to hasten a succession that seems sure to weaken MLB's leadership.
Major issues remain
There's too much unfinished business for Selig to leave now.
Baseball needs to determine who will own the Dodgers and Mets, two major-market teams with major financial problems. Additionally, someone needs to put an end to the war of attrition between the Athletics and Giants over whether the A's will be allowed to move to San Jose, Calif.
These are significant issues, and Selig already is deeply involved in them. He should stay on until they're resolved rather than turning them over to a new commissioner.
Perhaps a one-year extension would make more sense for Selig, 77 — who has announced plans to retire multiple times before reversing course. But leaving baseball now would leaving several jobs undone.
Need succession plan
Here's a better question: If he doesn't, who replaces him?
Selig is 77. He had proclaimed repeatedly that he would retire at the end of this year. No one believed him, not even his wife. No one formed a committee to search for his replacement.
This would be a good time for Selig to go. MLB just reached a new labor deal, ensuring two decades without a strike or lockout. Revenues are up, to $7.5 billion.
But MLB runs by consensus, and Selig is the one who spends hours every day building that consensus. Yet it might be nice if the new contract were accompanied by a succession plan. Selig will be 80 by the time his contract extension expires. There is baseball beyond him, and now is the time to prepare.