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MLB To Create Task Force To Study Decline In African-American Players
Published April 10, 2013
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LOOKING IN THE MIRROR: ESPN's Stephen A. Smith said the RBI Program is “something that has become synonymous” with MLB, and fans can fault MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and MLB “on a plethora of issues over the years, (but) this is not one of them.” Smith said Jackie Robinson “breaking the color barrier was because blacks were not allowed” in MLB. Smith: "Once we are allowed, we make our own decisions. That’s all baseball is obligated to do, and I think they’ve gone beyond that and have done other things to try to generate interest from the African-American community. ... If more African-Americans are not interested in playing (baseball), that’s not Major League Baseball’s problem. That’s ours” ("First Take," ESPN2, 4/10).
WHO SUCCEEDS SELIG? In Phoenix, Bob McManaman notes if Selig follows through on his pledge to retire at the end of his current contract in December '14, whoever succeeds him will "have a lot on his plate." Issues include the "extended use of instant replay, the future of the World Baseball Classic, further globalizing the sport, increasing sanctions on proven drug users, and if the new one-game wild-card format really works." A "realistic short list" of candidates likely would include MLB Exec VP/Baseball Operations Joe Torre, who is "certainly well-respected and liked throughout the industry." However, Torre turns 73 in July and it is uncertain whether he would "accept the gig even if they offered it to him." Former Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa "can rub some people the wrong way, but who's to say that isn't what baseball needs?" MLB Senior VP/Standards & On-Field Operations Joe Garagiola Jr. has "got the clout," and he is "about the right age" at 62. But MLB Exec VP/Economics & League Affairs Rob Manfred "might be the most logical choice." He has "played a prominent role in collective-bargaining negotiations, he's entrenched into baseball's economics, and he has Selig's ear" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 4/10). SportsBusiness Journal's Eric Fisher last month identified several possible successors, with Manfred, MLB Exec VP/Business Tim Brosnan and former U.S. Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) heading the list.