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Fehr Strikes Out


According to ESPN, Don Fehr will step down as the head of the MLBPA. Fehr’s long, productive, and largely successful run has been marred by the union’s handling of the recent performance-enhancing drugs scandals. 

A fabulously bright man, Fehr was in charge during the union’s fattest days. He played a large roll in the baseball player’s union becoming the strongest in all of professional sports. The man has a lot of wins under his belt. In the end, however, the steroids issue must have swallowed him up. Fehr and company failed their consituency in not destroying those pesky tests from ’03, proving once again that arrogance trumps smarts every time. I don’t mean to be flip. Fehr deserves, and will surely receive, a more thorough evaluation in the coming days. He was a pivotal figure.

Bud Selig should jern Fehr out the front door, don’t you think?

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1 Raf   ~  Jun 22, 2009 4:07 pm

Bud Selig should jern Fehr out the front door, don’t you think?

One down, one to go...

2 a.O   ~  Jun 22, 2009 4:16 pm

Yes, if there was any accountability in MLB, Selig would already be gone for his role in overseeing the game during the steroids era. Whatever happened to the guy in charge taking responsibility?

3 Shaun P.   ~  Jun 22, 2009 4:22 pm

[0] [1] I hope so.

Fehr's record is a lot better than Bud's, however. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but in the game "Owners vs MLBPA", Fehr's record includes but one loss and one tie. The loss was not destroying the survey testing list of names, and the tie was PEDs in general (because of the PR hit both sides took). Everything else was a win, and oftentimes, a huge win.

For his bosses, Fehr did an absolutely fantastic job. The survey test name list screw up was a big screw up, but I don't think it surpasses everything else. The moralizing media aside, the public in general doesn't seem to care about the list anymore.

From the perspective of us fans, I'm not sure if what Fehr did was good for "baseball" or not. Probably good on the whole, and certainly better than Bud.

4 PJ   ~  Jun 22, 2009 4:25 pm

Is that a trick question, Alex?

: )

5 ms october   ~  Jun 22, 2009 4:31 pm

bud should be treated like a burnt piece of bacon.

though i am not surprised bud lasted longer than fehr. the powerful people who love the concept of accountability rarely apply it to themselves.

i hope the next union leader keeps the owners from usurping too much power. and buys a shredder.

6 Shaun P.   ~  Jun 22, 2009 4:34 pm

[2] If I was Selig's boss, I'd get rid of him because of his refusal to obliterate the archaic broadcast blackout rules, or the continued snore-fest called interleague play, or the "THIS TIME IT COUNTS!" fiasco FOX has jammed down our throats for way too long, or many other things before I even thought about PEDs.

In Selig's defense (shudder), you speak of accountability, but to whom is he accountable? Us as baseball fans? The public in general? I say he's accountable to his bosses, and that's the owners. There's a reason he's still got his job, and its because, for the owners, he's been damn good at his job. He's made them all mountains of money, between helping get them tax breaks on their new play places, MLBAM, expanding the playoffs, and now MLBN (among many other things). The owners have never been in a better financial situation, and they have Bud to thank for it.

For all the moralizing there is over MLB and PEDs, I've yet to see it pointed out that not one of the owners, throughout the PED stuff, has ever called for Selig to resign. Why would they? They don't care about PEDs anymore than I do. As long as the money rolls in, and he wants to do it, Selig will be the commish.

7 Raf   ~  Jun 22, 2009 4:45 pm

Why would they? They don’t care about PEDs anymore than I do.

Exactly. And to top it off, Selig won in the court of public opinion. I have to give him his props for putting Fehr in a losing position.

8 RIYank   ~  Jun 22, 2009 5:05 pm

Wow, awesome title. Have you been sitting on that one, Alex, or did it just hit you today?

9 Shaun P.   ~  Jun 22, 2009 5:10 pm

[7] Broken clocks and all that, Raf.


Selig "beat" Fehr on PEDs, but I'm not sure he won overall. While I think that, ultimately, the moralizing that goes on about MLB and PEDs has a very small, negative impact on the profits rolling in, it has had an impact. I wish Selig had definitely closed the book on the PED whining - "why aren't you people complaining about all those 400 pounders in the NFL?" - but if he had, he would have given up something the owners see as leverage against the MLBPA. No way he does that.

10 Raf   ~  Jun 22, 2009 5:50 pm

Selig “beat” Fehr on PEDs, but I’m not sure he won overall

I'd say he has, based simply on the fact that he put the players as well as the union on the defensive. I know everyone has their hands dirty, from the owners on down, you know as well, but somehow the burden was placed on the players.

11 Shaun P.   ~  Jun 22, 2009 6:11 pm

[10] I agree that the players have been painted as the "bad guys" by the sports media in discussing PEDs . . . but from a business perspective, it seems strange to say Selig "won" because his chief product is constantly blamed for the problem, not him.

Even still, I think "winning" in this context really means "winning the PR battle, which only a very small number of people, mostly sports media people, seem to care about". That may change if, in the next CBA, Selig/Dupuy/Rod Manfred can use their PR advantage on PEDs to get a major concession out of the MLBPA. I'm not sure they can, or will.

12 RIYank   ~  Jun 22, 2009 7:29 pm

I wouldn't be surprised if the next CBA does include a major concession, but only a concession regarding drug testing. If that's what happens, then in my opinion it bolster's Fehr's legacy, because a tougher testing policy is better for the players. In my opinion, the real stain on Fehr's reputation is that he didn't agree to a strong steroids testing policy. As Shaun said in [6], the owners pay no cost at all when steroid use is rampant; the fans seem to love it; certainly the coaching staff doesn't care. Only the players are harmed by steroid use. Fehr could have helped them, but he never did.

13 OldYanksFan   ~  Jun 22, 2009 7:35 pm

During the first Congressional hearing, didn't both Bud and Don say they knew nothing about steroids in baseball? Hasn't that since been proven a lie?

Why does Congress make a big deal over everyday schnooks like Bonds and Clemens (yes, they are gifted ballplayers, but not exactly Einsteins) and not a peep about Bud and Don.?

14 rbj   ~  Jun 22, 2009 7:49 pm

Fehr is sort of like a criminal defense attorney in that he's just trying to get the best deal for his client. Selig is more like a prosecutor, who's also supposed to be interested in justice, even if it hurts his own case. Almost, but not quite opposites.

As for PEDs, Fehr & Selig do both share in the blame, along with the players & owners who profited handsomely, the media which for the most part fell down on the job, and even the fans (and I'll include myself too) who mostly did not press too much on things such as McGuire's andro use and the fact that there were so many outliers in such a short time.

2 60+ homerun seasons in history, then suddenly a 70 & 71 and 3 60+ within a decade?

15 monkeypants   ~  Jun 22, 2009 9:02 pm

[14] That's so naive, associating PEDs and high HR totals...

(end sarcasm).

In this discussion, we need to clarify what we mean by "winning." In many ways, Bud has "won" in that he has gotten a lot of things that he wanted (like interleague play) and has made the owners a lot of money. Is the game better for it? Is he fulfilling his supposed mandate as an impartial moderator? Those are separate issues.

Meanwhile, Fehr has gotten the players enormous sums of money, and has managed to stonewall against many attempts at reform. Is the game better for it? Have the players perhaps lost the PR war against the owners? These are separate issues.

16 Alex Belth   ~  Jun 22, 2009 9:22 pm

8) Nah, just made it up. I was going to use "Smell You Later, Smell You Later Forever," which was a nod to "The Simpsons," but then this title struck me and well, sometimes you get lucky and just roll with it.

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