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June 27, 2009 - Zach Baker

Earlier this week, I had two ideas I thought would make for good columns. I knew I could realistically only pick one of the topics for the paper.

The one I ended up going with was the idea that Indians' manager Eric Wedge should be fired. My other idea was to write about the legacy of MLB Players' Union head Donald Fehr, who announced that he'd retire.

Choosing to go with the Wedge idea was easy. Every Indians' fan I talk to (and there are quite a few in this area) has an opinion. This was a chance to write about something while it was still an issue -- for all I knew, the manager could be fired if the column didn't get done soon.

The other reason I went with the Wedge column is that if I had focused on Fehr, I'd probably be repeating myself.

I've already written twice on the topic of steroids in baseball, and trust me, a column on Fehr would have featured more ranting on  the issue.

To me, Fehr is guilty of staining  the game for his actions (or rather, inaction) regarding the steroid era. Baseball was slow to act, or to even admit there was a problem.

Fehr played a major role in a lack of testing, hanging on to the "privacy" argument as a reason to avoid it. For all we know, Major League Baseball may not have ever acted on the issue had Jose Canseco not written a book that everyone laughed at, then realized was pretty much true.

The other major points of Fehr's legacy are not positive ones. Baseball players salaries have gotten so high that it's not even worthwhile to think about. That's great for Fehr's players. But ticket prices have also risen steadily. Fans are finding it harder and harder to attend games. Just check out all the empty seats at the new Yankee Stadium.

Then, of course, there was the 1994 strike. No World series for the first time in 90 years. Baseball found a way to have Fall Classics through The Great Depression and two world wars. But two groups of rich people couldn't come to an agreement, and suddenly baseball was off.

Fehr and Commissioner Bud Selig have done more to harm the game than any pair of individuals I can think of.  Steroids. Tainted records. A strike.

But the money keeps rolling in, so for some, that's enough to claim success.

It shouldn't be.

There, that was the other column. I still think I made the right choice.



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