The legacy lesson Rob Manfred must learn from Bud Selig

The legacy lesson Rob Manfred must learn from Bud Selig

Much like presidents, kings and big-cat collectors, sports commissioners get defined most of all by the scandals that occur on their watch.

Hence, Rob Manfred need not look far and wide when seeking guidance for how to move his sport past the sign-stealing ugliness of the past few months, which reached a conclusion of sorts Wednesday with the findings on the 2018 Red Sox. Presumably there still exists a Batphone — a Budphone? — that directly connects the current commissioner with his immediate predecessor:

“Commissioner Selig, can you remind me how you dealt with steroids?”

Actually, Manfred worked under Selig for nearly the entirety of the illegal performance-enhancing drugs saga and helped improve his boss’ legacy, so perhaps a tutorial would be overkill; I just wanted to use the “Budphone” joke. Regardless, the roadmap to amelioration, if not necessarily salvation, looks remarkably similar between then and now: Own the scandal by making the crime harder to commit the next time.

Illegal PEDs and illegal sign-stealing can be qualified as cousins in chicanery, similar and not identical. Both get deployed to make you better, which in turn helps your team win, which means that they are nowhere as serious as, say, gambling on baseball.

Sign-stealing, though, requires more teamwork, thereby fundamentally indicting superiors, whereas illegal PED utilization tends to be more of a solo act. You can test individuals for illegal PED usage and pinpoint who exactly is doing what. Sign-stealing is murkier. Jose Altuve, for instance, knew all about the 2017 Astros’ trash-can banging and usually declined the information, which made him … guilty, but not as much as some teammates?

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