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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Bud Selig Makes Joe Mauer Money -- Who Knew??

That's probably a very, very expensive burgundy tie that Bill Selig is wearing
I just read this report from ESPN, indicating that MLB owners are expected to offer Commissioner Bud Selig a contract extension at their annual meetings that start tomorrow. To me, the interesting thing wasn't the part about Selig being offered a contract extension. In fact, Selig is entirely uninteresting to me most of the time, and I'm ready for him to retire, but it's never a surprise if he decides to hang on for another few years.

What made my jaw drop was the statement that Selig's compensation "which includes the use of a private jet, is in excess of $22 million annually, according to a source." Sources are often inaccurate, but let's just assume for the sake of argument that Selig does earn $22 million annually, not counting the little benefit of not having to sit next to "commoners" on a plane. That's an absolute ton of money. I suppose I hadn't really given it too much thought, but had assumed that Selig made $3 or $5 million a year. I know that, for commissioners that do the job right, the duties are never-ending, ranging simply from being present at events all over the country and the world, to controlling seemingly mundane aspects of the game, such as rule changes.

If you're curious, NFL commish Roger Goodell took a pay cut to $1 this past season, but had earned $10.9 million. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman earned $7.5 million for the fiscal year ending in June, 2011, and NBA commissioner David Stern, whose salary has not been disclosed, is rumored to earn in excess of $10 million annually. So it seems like Selig outearns his NFL, NBA and NHL counterparts by at least 2-to-1. I guess that's not surprising, considering Selig's longevity. Those cost of living raises really added up!

I suppose you can analogize the commissioner of a professional sport to a CEO of an organization, if that makes you feel better. In my mind, though, I view Selig as a placeholder -- a temporary gatekeeper -- of the institution of baseball. I know he's an important executive, but I think his chief function is to ensure that play continues, and that certain aspects of the game either change, or do not change, as times evolve. But I guess it can be argued that he is just as important to the game as is any one player, so perhaps he should earn a salary equivalent to what a good player would earn.

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