LOVERRO: Bud Selig’s parting gift should be convincing Jameis Winston to stick with baseball

ANALYSIS/OPINION

Jameis Winston is a preseason All-American – in baseball.

Baseball America named the Florida State Heisman Trophy winner to its preseason third team All-American squad, putting him in its “utility” slot.”

Winston played right field and pitched out of the bullpen for the Seminoles last year as a freshman. He started two games in left field and 20 in right, as well as a designated hitter in 10 games.

He batted just .235 with nine RBI, a .377 on base percentage and a .345 slugging percentage.

That’s not bad for a relief pitcher.

Yes, Winston threw 27 innings out of the bullpen, striking out 21 with a 3.00 ERA.

Pretty good for a freshman in ACC baseball.

So this is what baseball commissioner Bud Selig needs to – go to Tallahassee, sit down with Winston, and explain to him the wisdom of choosing Major League Baseball as a career over the National Football League.

Or else pay him a lot of money.

Selig is on his way out as commissioner – at least that is what he says. And, as time passes, his tenure looks better and better. The game has never been healthier financially, with record revenues of more than $8 billion. Regional television networks have replaced new ballparks as a revenue bonanza. Attendance has risen to more than 75 million a year consistently in the past few years.

But the NFL still looms large over baseball. The 2012 revenues were $9.5 billion, and television ratings are skyrocketing. Nearly 112 million people watched the Seahawks-Broncos blowout, the most viewers ever.

The NFL, though, has problems – big problems. The concussion settlement they reached with thousands of former players is on hold, with many more pending that were not part of the deal. Parents around the country are wondering how safe it is to let their kids play football.

The league has huge stadiums with empty seats, as the game experience is losing out to 60-inch high definition televisions in homes. The NFL may be rolling in money, but it’s also vulnerable.

So now is the time for baseball to strike a damaging blow – stealing the Heisman Trophy winner. The symbolism of such a decision would send a signal to a generation of young athletes that there are better, smarter options to make money using your talents other than risking life, limb and scrambled brains 30 years later.

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