Has ever a baseball commissioner had more reason to feel fortunate than Bud Selig has this fall?
Mr. Selig's own Milwaukee Brewers will be playing October baseball.
Beyond that, though the division winners emerged early, which might ordinarily let some of the air out of baseball, this season, in the alleged autumn of his commissionership, Mr. Selig was blessed with two exciting wildcard chases, one of which involved a team with national appeal. The other one involved two.
Beyond that, though the NFL long ago eclipsed baseball as this nation's pastime of choice, football has been occupied with damage control. Roger Goodell, Commissioner Selig's football counterpart, only recently acknowledged that contact essential to Goodell's game was responsible for eventually diminishing the lives of the players. Good on Goodell for that ludicrously belated concession, but now football-related conversation is frequently about whether the game as many love it can survive the efforts of those who would modify it to protect the players, some of whom don't wish to be protected.
It is a necessary and welcome development. It is also a headache no commissioner needs.
Meanwhile the pro basketball players are locked out. The NBA overlaps baseball and clamors for the public's attention and discretionary income…unless the only news out of the league is that the players and owners have agreed to meet again.
Not so long ago, Commissioner Selig was being mocked for his failure to handle the embarrassments to his game that began with the inflation of the league's players into cartoonish bodybuilders and blossomed into nationally televised farce with the appearances of the likes of Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro, and Roger Clemens before congress. Now his team is in the playoffs, his game is in high cotton, and his competitors are preoccupied. Most people have probably even forgotten how Commissioner Bud declared the 2002 All-Star Game a tie, thus setting a record for greatest number of people smirking at a baseball-related event that didn't involve the Cubs.