Bud Selig finally retired, and nary a word was said about his greatest accomplishment. Rob Manfred is now the new boss (copyright Marshawn Lynch), and he has not seen the fight to memorialize it. The courts have ruled time and again on San Jose’s quixotic attempt to absorb the Oakland Athletics and haven’t even bothered to footnote it.
And this is clearly wrong, a denial of our shared history that will be corrected now.
So here’s to the Blue Ribbon Commission that needed six years (well, 2,145 days from the day it was announced) to provide no report on the differences between Oakland and San Jose. It was a commission that allegedly existed, although it was essentially a great white elk – talked about but never actually seen. It was tasked with doing a three-page an indolent fifth-grader could be assigned with a deadline of the second semester of the kid’s junior year to complete.
[REWIND: Selig: A's ballpark committee 'disbanded']
It was a mighty collection of men, women, unicorns, yetis, Easter bunnies, Santa-based elves and Great Pumpkins. They milled about, made a budget they could not exceed (two trips to Kinkos, tops), supposedly met in 2012 when people started demanding proof that they actually existed (though there is no photographic evidence ever provided, and if there had been, it probably would have been photoshopped), and when Bud finally got shown the door with the kind of golden parachute that would make golden parachutes green with envy, the commission that wasn’t was disbanded.
This is a neat scientific trick – disbanding something that never actually congealed. Physicists around the world are still scratching their heads over that one.
But you’d think this magnificent set of tricks – meeting while not meeting, reporting without a report, gathering while remaining invisible – this Penn And Teller Festival Of The Truly Unbelievable is now no more, and there isn’t a single proclamation from MLB, or a special on the MLB Network hosted by a severely tranquilized Brian Kenny, or even some memorabilia to buy on the secondary crap market – a binder, a laptop keyboard, a note pad with grocery lists, something.
Hell, I’d pay good money for a “Noncorporeal Blue Ribbon Commission” hoodie, or a beanie with an intertwined NBRC logo. I’d even settle for a commemorative media guide with Bud’s disembodied face on the cover with sunrays emanating in all directions from behind his head.
And maybe even hologrammatic recreations of who the commission members would have been if they’d ever existed, which there is no evidence they ever did.
If they did exist, they should be lionized. If they didn’t, it is one of the great feats of illusion in history. Either way, Jeff Idelson at the Hall of Fame should be preparing an exhibit, with the great thing about it being that you could put it anywhere, or not do anything at all about it, and get the same effect the commission produced. First benefit: No money spent, no materials used.
People could ask to see the exhibit, and the guide could say, “You just passed it.” And when the patron said, “Where was it?” the guide could say, “It is like the wind – everywhere and nowhere at the same time. Now, let’s go to the Denying We Had A Color Line exhibit. It’s right past the People Ty Cobb Tried To Kill diorama.”
This is a big deal because the San Jose people got slapped down last week by a federal appeals court, and are now prepping a challenge to baseball’s antitrust exemption to the Supreme Court. It almost certainly won’t be heard, and if it is, it almost certainly won’t be overturned, not while Antonin Scalia has breath left in Anthony Kennedy’s body. The A’s are Oakland’s, and either John-Boy Fisher and Lew Wolff can figure out a way to make it work or sell to some sap at twice the team’s street value. And somewhere the Giants sing, saddened only by the fact that the A’s won’t relocate to the bottom of the sea, which is what the Giants actually prefer.
But that’s neither here nor there. This is about the commission that never committed, the people who never met, the report that never got reported. The Myth Built On A Fake-Out Born Of A Fraud That Made Sportswriters See Ghosts Based On Their Unwillingness To Call Bud Selig A Pathetically Bad Liar.
I hope there are commission member trading cards, too. I want to get Quetzalcoatl a Minotaur and a Cluricaun (a leprechaun-like figure whose main feature was that it was perpetually drunk) in my first pack.