In the Best Interests of Baseball?


In the Best Interests of Baseball?

Governing the National Pastime

Andrew Zimbalist
With a new preface and epilogue by the author

286 pages
20 photographs, 1 table


March 2013


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eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

December 2013


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About the Book

In the Best Interests of Baseball? is a thoughtful, balanced look at the impact of the ninth commissioner of baseball, Bud Selig, on the sport as well as an examination of the commissioner’s position in a historical context. The more controversial topics Andrew Zimbalist probes include the conflicts of interest arising from Selig’s original role as owner/commissioner; Selig’s response to the persistent steroids scandal; the commissioner’s role in promoting and marketing the sport; player relations and the collective-bargaining agreement; managing explosive conflicts among the owners; the game’s economic challenges; major changes made on Selig’s watch; and Selig’s growing compensation.

Underlying this very public evaluation is a far more challenging question: given the legal, economic, and political architecture of Major League Baseball, can any commissioner act in the best interest of the game? Based on dozens of interviews with Selig, former president and chief operating officer of Major League Baseball Bob DuPuy, and scores of baseball insiders and interested outsiders, as well as on mountains of historic baseball documents, In the Best Interests of Baseball? challenges everything you thought you knew about the game, the Major Leagues, the players, the owners, and, most of all, the man at the helm.

This edition includes a new preface and epilogue by the author discussing the developments in the baseball industry since 2005 and anticipating what lies ahead for the national pastime.

Author Bio

Andrew Zimbalist is the Robert A. Woods Professor of Economics at Smith College. An award-winning writer, media commentator, and consultant in the sports industry, he is the author of numerous books, including Circling the Bases: Essays on the Challenges and Prospects of the Sports Industry and May the Best Team Win: Baseball Economics and Public Policy.


“A book certain to stir debate among sports business experts and fans alike.”—Boston Herald

“[Zimbalist] gets right to the heart of the game’s survival at the organizational level.”—Boston Globe

“A compelling examination of the national pastime as seen through the prism of the commissioner’s office.”—Wall Street Journal

“Andrew Zimbalist has written an insightful and thought-provoking book that peels the cover off the ball of the position of the commissioner to see the threads inside.”—Maury Brown, Hardball Times

“Once again, Andy Zimbalist proves that no one understands the mysterious inner workings of the best game on earth better than he does. With energy, thoughtfulness, and passion, he has parsed the complicated world of baseball and shown how important its business side is to its soul—and survival.”—Ken Burns

“Zimbalist is a consummate and impeccably credentialed outsider, and this splendid book is the real deal. . . . Rational baseball fans will rejoice in this tough but fair view of a decent man in a thankless job.”—John Thorn, editor of Total Baseball

Table of Contents

Preface to the Nebraska Paperback Edition
1. Introduction: Running a League
2. The History of the Commissioner's Role
3. The First Commissioner: Kenesaw Mountain Landis
4. The Undistinguished Middle I: From Chandler to Eckert
5. The Undistinguished Middle II: From Kuhn to Vincent
6. Bud Selig: A Lifetime in Preparation
7. Baseball's Acting Commissioner, 1992-1998
8. Baseball's Permanent Commissioner, 1998-
9. Governing Baseball: Assessing the Past and Anticipating the Future

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