THE hubbub over Fay Vincent, commissioner of baseball, who...

Salmagundi

September 09, 1992

THE hubbub over Fay Vincent, commissioner of baseball, who resigned at the request of 18 of the 28 major league team owners, could have been avoided if a proposal we heard the other day had been enacted.

The proposal: Have the American people elect the commissioner in the quadrennial presidential elections.

It's the "national pastime," after all, so why shouldn't the nation have a say in who runs the game? Besides, having an election for baseball commissioner will bring out the vote.

Most of the Joe (and quite a few of the Jane) Six-packs we know would much rather exercise their franchise for a baseball commissioner than for a president. They'd monopolize the sports talk shows for weeks before the election, arguing for this or that candidate.

The only problem would be nominating the candidates. We suggest that the four major interest groups in baseball -- the umpires, the players, the owners and the fans -- hold a nominating convention during the summer before the election. (The fans' representatives could be chosen in the all-star balloting.) The convention would nominate two nonpartisan candidates, perhaps three or four.

The commissioner's term would coincide with the president's, and, like the president, he or she could serve only two consecutive terms.

Makes sense to us. Who ever heard of a baseball commissioner named Fay, anyway?

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