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BEST VILLAIN Minneapolis 2002 - Bud Selig

Readers' Choice: Gov. Jesse Ventura

The past year provided a surplus of villains. Fanatics and miscreants seemed to be breeding at a preternatural rate, all skulking in the shadows and plotting our doom. And compared with anthrax-posting maniacs and the Axis of Evil (whoever they turn out to be), the sins of a Major League Baseball commissioner seem piddling. But perhaps because the whole world seemed to go to hell last year, there was something particularly galling about Selig's scheme to kill the Minnesota Twins. It wasn't just the bald hypocrisy of the contraction mess; everyone knows that axing the Twins won't solve the game's woes (though it will, of course, benefit the owner of the Milwaukee Brewers). Nor was it the revelation that Selig, Twins owner Carl Pohlad, and the man behind contraction, Colorado Rockies owner Jerry McMorris, are tied in a Gordian knot of avarice and conflict of interest. What was finally most aggravating about the smug, embalmed-looking Selig--you can imagine him tapping his fingers together and muttering, "Excellent," as soon as the TV cameras are turned off--is that he threatened to dispatch our Twins just when they were getting fun to watch again, and just when we most needed something to look forward to. For hitting us when we were down, Selig gets this year's one-finger salute.

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