Mike Dee went on Padres Social Hour before the game tonight to address the outpouring of fan criticism over the newly announced Selig Hall of Fame Plaza. When Jesse Agler passed along the most asked question of why, Dee was all about the history. "We are not doing enough to celebrate the history of baseball in San Diego." Well, I guess Selig is part of the history of baseball, so that's not a terrible start.
He then went on to explain that BS Plaza isn't in fact the Palm Court. It's on K street, just inside the ballpark gates. You know, the sidewalk. "That's an area where we're going to celebrate those players and coaches and managers who wore a Padres uniform." Sure, okay. I enjoyed the time Mike Piazza and Greg Maddux and David Wells spent in San Diego. That seems like a pretty good idea. You could have rotating exhibits about notable ballplayers (and there have been plenty) who we've cheered for over the years. But, uh, Bud Selig doesn't fall into that category. You were going to explain the why of it all, Mike? "Baseball would not be here in San Diego if it were not for the steadfast resolve that Comissioner Selig had back in the mid-90s working with John Moores, and Larry Lucchino and all of us who were here with the Padres to make baseball work here in San Diego."
Wait, what? Are we talking about the same Bud Selig? The one who did nothing when Tom Werner was selling off every asset the Padres had? The one who canceled the '94 series and (more importantly for us) Tony Gwynn's shot at history? Sorry, maybe I'm overreacting here. I should let Mike explain a bit more.
"And I know it's hard for some of our younger fans who maybe weren't even alive, but not young enough to remember the state of affairs of Padres baseball during those times." Okay, sure, that's a little condescending, but you don't get to be a big corporate executive without affecting at least a little bit of pretension. "We had just had the shortened season of 1994 [...] and the fire sale." You are not making the case for Bud Selig saving baseball in San Diego, Mike.
But the Padres CEO was insistent. According to Dee, Selig didn't just save baseball in San Diego, he saved it in every small market. "It's just a shame that yesterday people couldn't have been in that plaza for the actual ceremony. You would have heard Mayor Faulconer and County Supervisor Ron Roberts talk about those days." Maybe somebody should have announced that it was going to happen, then?
"I think it's impossible to understand what was taking place behind the curtain unless you were behind the curtain and understand the role that the Commissioner played." So, let's see, first it's that fans are too young to understand. Then it's just that we're outsiders who couldn't possibly know what goes on behind closed doors. I can accept that there are things behind the scenes that we don't know about, but I'm also not sure why I'm supposed to care. There are so many publicly documented things that Selig did poorly in his two decades and change in charge. Mike Dee's insistence that the outgoing commissioner saved baseball in San Diego is hard to take seriously up against that.
Maybe Dee is telling the truth. Suppose we all really do owe Selig a huge debt of gratitude, and a surfboard just isn't enough to repay that Wookie Life Debt. Well, fine. Let's get him two surfboards. But a permanent place of honor in our ballpark? No matter what Mike Dee thinks, I wasn't born yesterday.