Is There Another Landis Out There?

Is there another Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis out there anywhere? It's no longer a question of whether baseball commissioner Bud Selig walks the plank, but when.

Selig, a nondescript commissioner at best, surely is only the tip  of  the iceberg cruising out there in baseball, but he is candidate number one for the number one scalp to offered at the altar of sacrifice.

Baseball needs to make a statement. So far, they have been offering excuses. The excuses might sooth players and big city writers and such. On a much wider and important scale, the excuses are too few, too off the mark, and, on balance, inappropriate to the task.

The Congress, always salivating for an easy (for them) victim, fired a deafening salvo on Tuesday. It isn't if an investigation should begin, but when. And the answer was about two weeks into the new year.

Now politicians everywhere are getting the clue that most Americans don't like much of anybody running for president.

The Iowa an New Hampshire primaries are already on us.

Congress also is aware that they are significantly less popular than an unpopular president.  Has any House Speaker ever polled less than Nancy Pelosi?  And Harry Who Reid as Majority Leader?

Leader of what?

So our political leaders will try to make themselves look good by pillorying somebody who can be made to look even less good and that somebody is none other than current baseball commissioner Bud Selig, not that he hasn't earned that mantle on his own.

Look at the Congressman slathering at the prospects. Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York for one. If there was ever a Uriah Heep act-a-like in the halls of Congress who could out Schumer Schumer, tell me who he is (or was).

So, Selig will walk the plank. The cards are on the table. Only the betting has begun.

Now almost 90 years ago, baseball faced a similar disaster. Does anybody remember the commissioner who walked the plank then?

Nope! Does anybody remember who stepped up and bailed baseball out? Yep. Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis.

What would it take to be the next Judge Landis?

First, he must be distinguished.  Above  reproach. Have, what former Democratic National Chairman John Bailey called "heft".

A no nonsense guy. Which means somebody who will not refrain from sneering back at Donald Fehr. A tough guy. Not street tough, but strong inside. A man who not only looks unassailable but truly is. A man of probity.

We have been making up our list of potential candidates and mulling  over names.

Mario Cuomo, was a tough ex-New York governor. Why the very good governor never ran for president still - particularly in contrast to the current bunch - still  puzzles people. Gen. Norman Schwarzkoff (sic). A commanding  figure. Donald Rumsfeld, yes but maybe too strong. Rick Santorem, the principled former Pennsylvania senator who lost his seat but never his principles.

Orin Hatch, the staunch member of  the Senate Judiciary Committee, when it was something more than a Capital Hill version of Saturday Night Live. Former Georgia Senator Sam Nunn, who had so much talent and left power too early. Newt Gingrich, the former  House Speaker. Now there is a tough guy.  Former Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork.

Then there is Ed Koch, former mayor of New York, often called the toughest battleground of them all. Through it all,there never has a scintilla of scandal around the mayor. 

In sport, there is retired  North Carolina basketball icon Dean Smith who knew how to win but never learned to cheat.

After all this musing, we are left with our final list of four men that, to us, stand  out as having met all the qualifications baseball now needs.

They are, in no particular order, the distinguished writer and lifetime baseball fan George Will, former UN Ambassador John Bolton (they don't come any tougher), Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman, who assuredly and almost unanimously would walk away as THE most honorable elected official in Washington, and finally, Mr. Peter O'Malley himself.

Consider any of these four as baseball commissioner, particularly in comparison with one Bud Selig.

George Will or Bud Selig. See what we mean?

John Bolton or Bud Selig. Bolton has heard the world champions of spin at the UN and knew a spinner when he saw or heard one.

Joseph Lieberman vs Bud Selig. That's the difference between a 24 carat diamond and a Ford Edsel.

The O'Malley's, Walter and Peter, took baseball to the promised land, the promised land that the current bunch have squandered, not only for the current game but the future game.

Will, Bolton, Lieberman or O'Malley. Give me any one of the four.

Then baseball will legitimately aright the ship. Then we can have the sense baseball can deal with its problems. And only then will Congress and the other packs of hyenas back off.

So baseball, why wait to be shoved into doing what many have already decided needs to be done?

And what a wonderful Christmas gift to the nation that would be.  

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