While watching my daily dose of PTI (Pardon The Interruption for the non-ESPN watchers) last week I was astounded when Wilbon & Kornheiser welcomed their guest for 5 good minutes. He was introduced as Timothy Finchem, the commissioner of the PGA. Did you know that the PGA had a commissioner? Have you ever heard that name before? I honestly had no clue there was a Commissioner of Golf, or why they’d even need one. I guess to manage the money but seems an accountant could do that well enough. It fascinated me and I got to thinking, could there be any better job than PGA Commissioner? I’m sure the guy makes great bank and has few headaches, right? That got me to comparing the various sports commissioners and weighing which job was better. Hence this blog. I’m not going to include the BCS Commissioner because being the commissioner of a league that lets computers decide its champion is a thing of shame, not to be glorified in a blog by me.
So, from worst to first:
MLB Commissioner: Do you think Bud Selig is having any fun these days? His biggest star admits to doing steroids, Congress continues to cast a baleful glare in his direction, two of his former biggest stars are getting ready to go on trial for steroids and lying to Congress, the All Star game decides home field advantage in the World Series…that’s a whole laundry list of problems. And the fact that Selig turned a blind eye to the problems in baseball coupled with his kowtowing to the player’s union for years and years makes this job rather unappealing to me. Not to mention just waiting for the hammer to drop and other names to come out. I get an ulcer just thinking about it. Nope, I wouldn’t want to be Bud.
NHL Commissioner: I had a hard time placing this one. On the one hand, hardly anybody watches hockey so you kind of get to exist in a vacuum. Nobody really knows if you suck, because nobody really cares. But that has to affect profitability, right? The fact is they have been unable to find a star with drawing power. Wayne Gretzky left and I don’t think the sport has been the same. I’ve heard some not so pleasant things about Gary Bettman’s reign as commish, but I also heard that he improved the game somewhat with that OT shoot-out business. The simple fact is, I couldn’t pick him out of a lineup, but at least I know his name. He lands at #4 simply because his sport is pretty irrelevant. Oh, and it’s too long for my taste, they crown a champ and it feels like they’re back to playing a month later. Minus points for that.
NFL Commissioner: Ahh Roger Goodell time! The NFL is the #1 sport in America, so the job would appear to be the best of all of them when it comes to that factor. Profits rise every year (unless you’re Detroit) and the league enjoys a lack of public scrutiny when it comes to things like steroids and drug testing. This is because they have had stringent tests for years, although one suspects that the players are smarter than the tests. Nobody cares like they do in baseball though, we just wanna win! The reason this job is not the most appealing is because of the outside elements you have to deal with as commish. The Pacman Jones’ of the world, if you will. With each team having 53 players, it only takes one per team to create a lot of strife. Dealing with the Mike Vicks and Plaxico Burress’ of the league would not be fun. Nearly weekly someone is getting in trouble for something, be it drugs or DUI or shooting yourself in the thigh. Points deducted for the troublemakers and the sheer number of people you’re dealing with and NFL Commish falls to the 3 spot.
NBA Commissioner: I don’t watch the NBA, but I know who David Stern is and I could pick him out of a lineup. I could pick him out because he scares me. I would finger some other guy for the crime and hope that Stern would reward me in some way. Basketball players are apt to fall into the same kind of trouble as football players are, pot smoking seeming to be the chief no-no they get nailed with. But there are far fewer players to deal with here, so there’s less to worry about. Hell, the #1 or #2 star in the league was charged with rape years ago and that affected nothing. Points are deducted here because the NBA remains only the #3 sport of the big 4, with no signs of ever moving up the list. Despite having some stars with name power, Lebron and Kobe, they’re still not MJ or Magic or Bird. Your random person doesn’t care. So Stern only gets #2. I hope he refrains from hurting me!
PGA Commissioner: Yep, that’s right, the guy I’ve never heard of, Tim Finchem, gets the top spot. Think about it, who’s the league troublemaker? John Daly right? And everyone STILL loves the guy. Nobody wants him punished, they want to sit down and have a beer with him. Sure, you have Sergio take the occasional spit into a cup, but if that’s your biggest problem then you’re sitting on gold. Your biggest concern is to make sure Tiger Woods is happy, right? He was on PTI to celebrate Tiger’s return and what it means to the PGA. Your #1 superstar is never going to get arrested for beating a woman or doing drugs. He’s the ultimate family man and world ambassador. Stern and Goodell would laugh at Finchem if he ever called them to complain about any of Daly’s silly acts. Timmy gets to sit back and count his coins and maybe play a round or two of golf. Tough life.
So there you have it. There’s no better commissioner’s job than that of the Tim Finchem’s. I’m aware that I have no idea what kind of administrative coordination these guys do, I’m sure it’s involved and whatnot but I still figure the PGA dude has it the best. So, I’d like to throw my hat in the ring. I’m running for PGA Commish. Watch out Finchem!