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The promotion of MLB Exec VP/Economics & League Affairs Rob Manfred to COO yesterday "puts him in a favorable position" to succeed Commissioner Bud Selig, but that is "not a slam dunk," according to Tom Haudricourt of the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL. A search committee "will be put in place and ultimately it will be the decision of the owners." Manfred while at MLB has been "responsible for heading labor negotiations and economic matters such as revenue sharing." Selig with Manfred's appointment "began the transition process in preparation for his retirement in January 2015," and as a part of the transition Manfred will "oversee day-to-day management of the commissioner's office" in N.Y. Selig "runs his office out of Milwaukee" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 10/1). Manfred is the first person to hold MLB's COO title since the resignation of Bob DuPuy three years ago. Manfred has been MLB's point person on a bevy of prominent league issues, including three sets of CBA negotiations with the MLBPA; the Dodgers, Cubs, and Rangers bankruptcies; the MASN dispute involving the Nationals and Orioles; and the creation of the league's debt service rule (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer). In L.A., Bill Shaikin reported Selig's "public vote of confidence in Manfred is expected to be influential" in choosing his successor. There has been "no announcement of the formation of a search committee or the retention of a search firm" (LATIMES.com, 9/30).
SOMETHING WILD: In DC, Thomas Boswell writes MLB in the second year of its expanded 10-team playoff "may have found a formula that brings out the best (and worst) in teams." Boswell writes: "Call it Bud Selig’s legacy. Some would rather pound their thumb with a hammer than grant praise to the commissioner. ... But the Perfect Postseason may be his jewel." Almost all of MLB "thinks the four-wild-card format is better than the old system, more true to the traditional spirit." Boswell: "What grabs me is the extra energy in September. It simply feels like the new system tends to produce drama" (WASHINGTON POST, 10/1). However, ESPN.com's Doug Glanville wrote under the header, "One-And-Done Playoff Format Wrong." The system "keeps teams in it, and maybe it does magic at the ticket offices, but the concept is inconsistent with a game that has been going on for six months with rotations of pitchers and teams playing to win a series of games." Glanville: "If you get to the pinnacle of the mountain after a 162-game, snow-covered climb, you deserve to have more than one game to prove your worth" (ESPN.com, 9/30).
The NFL yesterday announced that the start of the Chargers-Raiders game on Sunday has been pushed back to 11:35pm ET and will air on NFL Network and Westwood One, as well as over-the-air stations in San Diego and Oakland. The move was made to accomodate a Tigers-A's ALDS game on Saturday at O.co Coliseum, as the Raiders share the stadium with the A's and the Coliseum needs time to convert back into a football stadium on Sunday (NFL). In Sacramento, Tom Couzens writes, "For those of us who have lived on the East Coast, the late local start isn't a big deal." But how many NFL fans "on the East Coast are going to watch the Raiders against the Chargers until nearly 3 a.m., especially the way they've played this season?" Sacramento residents have been "spoiled with even the Sunday and Monday night games over well before bedtime for even the earliest risers." Couzens: "We've been programmed to watch NFL games with our breakfast and lunch for the most part, not hours after the dinner dishes have been put away" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 10/1). In San Diego, Tom Krasovic writes NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and MLB Commissioner Bud Selig "owe NFL fans an apology for the scheduling fiasco." It takes "up to 18 hours to reconfigure the field" at O.co Coliseum for football following a baseball game. Krasovic: "Sorry, that's not good enough, and the blame goes" to the NFL. Having the Raiders play at the Chargers before the World Series ended "should've been the original plan, even if it meant front-loading the Raiders' schedule with three games in the four weeks before baseball's postseason began" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 10/1). CSNBAYAREA.com's Ray Ratto writes of the Chargers-Raiders and Texans-49ers games on Sunday, "People all over are watching -- well, the aftermath if not the games." They are "expecting the very worst" from fans. Ratto: "So don't act like troglodytic swine, okay?" (CSNBAYAREA.com, 9/30).