SBD/July 23, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

As Committee Searches For Bud Selig's Replacement, Rob Manfred Is Clear-Cut Favorite

MLB's succession committee has reportedly already interviewed Manfred
There is a "growing sense of inevitability" among MLB officials that the job to succeed Commissioner Bud Selig "will end up going to Selig's right-hand man," MLB COO Rob Manfred, according to Brian Costa of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Sources said that Manfred has the "backing of roughly 20" MLB owners. While a formal vote is still likely months away, a "clear rival to Manfred has yet to emerge." Seven owners were "tasked with leading the search for Selig's successor." Sources said that the succession committee has "interviewed Manfred and two other league executives." The "other interviewees" are MLBAM President & CEO Bob Bowman and MLB Exec VP/Business Tim Brosnan. One source said the committee has also "formally interviewed at least two other candidates from outside the commissioner's office." A source added that Giants President & CEO Larry Baer "has had informal discussions with the committee about the job but has yet to make himself a candidate." One "potential candidate from outside MLB" is Disney Chair & CEO Bob Iger. A source said that Iger is "currently discussing the ground rules under which he would become a candidate, as he is wary of vying for a job that Manfred appears likely to win." In selecting Manfred, MLB would be "following the paths of the NFL and the NBA, which have both chosen deputies of their previous commissioners to fill their top jobs." Manfred has "led negotiations" with the MLBPA in an era "marked by labor peace and soaring franchise values." But some team execs question whether Manfred has the "marketing savvy to grow the game" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 7/23).

A TIME FOR REFLECTION: Pirates Owner Bob Nutting, who is part of the succession committee, said that he "couldn’t help but reflect on how things have changed for his team" as Selig spoke yesterday at PNC Park. Nutting: “Absolutely tremendous progress has been made, and Pittsburgh has been one of the many beneficiaries of re-leveling the baseball field. Certainly, there’s much more competitive balance than there was 10 or 15 years ago. We need to continue those opportunities." Nutting added, “You look at expansion, the playoffs, the wild card, how the game’s moved globally, economically and financially. You look at this franchise, where this franchise was at one time and how it’s been able to hang on. And it takes more guys than Bud. I think he’s done a very fantastic job, really, overall in pushing this game forward, forward, making sure the newest generation is involved and engaged. Keeping the oldest generation involved and engaged, as well" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 7/23).
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