Sports Law Blog
All things legal relating
to the sports world...
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
President Bush on Major League Baseball

ESPN's Karl Ravech snagged an interesting interview with President George W. Bush, who was managing general partner of the Texas Rangers from 1989 to 1994, during which time he turned an initial $800,000 investment into a $15,000,000 sale in 1994. As Howard discussed last December, Bush was a finalist for Baseball Commissioner in 1992, but the owners selected Bud Selig instead; obviously, history would be very different had Commissioner Bush run baseball and someone else run the country (for engaging "alternative histories," check out this account of Commissioner Bush and President McCain, and this one of Commissioner Bush rejecting inter-league play and limiting the 1994 baseball strike to only two weeks).

Here are some excerpts from Ravech's interview with the President, courtesy of Buster Olney's ESPN blog:
KR: When you were the owner versus today, are people more skeptical of the athletes now because of all the stuff that we hear about?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, it's hard to tell; I don't know. Clearly, the steroid issue has put a cloud over the great sport to a certain extent. I appreciate the fact that the commissioner and the labor man have worked out an agreement to try to win the trust of the fans. Look, you know, I became concerned about it in 2004, and gave a speech at the State of the Union. People said, what is he talking about, why would he want to talk about steroids? And my worry was, was that it would affect younger Americans, as much as anything else, and that's why I put it in there. And then Congress followed up and did some useful hearings.

KR: A lot of people point fingers at your friends, your fellow owners, that they should have known [about steroids]. Is it possible to be as in the dark as some like to think these people were?

THE PRESIDENT: You know, somebody pointed a finger at me at one time, and I thought long and hard about that. And I really don't remember any discussions or any talk around the ownership group, or with the baseball guys at the Rangers, about steroid use in 1993 or before. I just don't remember that at all.

I think owners should know now. I mean, there's been a wake-up call. I know Donald Fehr is obviously working to protect players' rights, and Bud is working to make sure baseball is -- and the labor group works together. But it's going to be very good for baseball when any doubt is removed.

KR: What would you do if you were commissioner? Would you go watch the record-setting home run or try to be there?

THE PRESIDENT: I don't know. I've got my mind elsewhere these days, and so I haven't spent that much time on the subject. I really haven't considered what I would do. I've got -- believe it or not, Karl -- I've got a lot to think about.

KR: You can watch the highlights on "Baseball Tonight."

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I do watch the highlights on "Baseball Tonight." And I watch those highlights, watch some of the All-Star Game. I'd like to file a complaint, however, with my friend, Selig -- who I believe is doing a great job, by the way. They need to start the All-Star Game earlier. There is a bunch of young Americans who miss it and a bunch of older guys, like me, who can barely stay awake past 9:30 p.m.

KR: How about World Series games?


KR: Amen.

THE PRESIDENT: Same. You know, there's nothing better than a World Series game -- having never participated in one, though, as a club owner, [I'm] a little envious.

KR: Are you getting back in baseball when this is all said and done?

THE PRESIDENT: You know, I'll never leave baseball as a fan. I doubt it. I really do.

KR: Commissioner?

THE PRESIDENT: No, I don't think so. I, frankly, haven't thought about my post-presidency, but I just would -- if I were to speculate now, this will probably be run sometime later and they'll say, look, he said he wasn't going to do it.

I don't agree with the President on many issues, but I think he is right about the All-Star game: it starts too late, at least for those of us on the East Coast. Considering that the game now "counts" for home field advantage in the World Series, I suspect a lot of people would want to watch it but don't.


According to the alternative histories, I agree with the President about interleague play. Nice to know.

Oh, and if the All-Star game really "counted" in any meaningful sense, would LaRussa have left Pujols on the bench with the tying run on second base so he could send up a middle infielder batting .298 with no power?f

Blogger Howard Wasserman -- 7/18/2007 11:25 PM  

All I can say is 'Thank God' he was President because I don't think many others would have had the courage to fight the War on Terror as fiercely as he has done.

This country will be severely damaged if the Democrats win in '08 and start installing their socialist agenda.

Anonymous Anonymous -- 7/21/2007 12:29 AM  

Post a Comment