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Search For New MLB Commish Down To Three, As Some Owners Reportedly Stump For Werner
Published August 6, 2014
FIRM WERNING: Werner last night said, "A number of owners asked me to consider the position. I am not running against Rob Manfred, but to be able to articulate my vision for the future." In Boston, Peter Abraham cites sources as saying that Werner "greatly impressed the committee with his thoughts during the initial round of interviews." Werner: "I have ideas that I believe the owners should hear" (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/6). Also in Boston, Michael Silverman notes if Werner "were to be named commissioner, he would likely have to sell his ownership stake in the Red Sox." Few "expected to see Werner’s name among the finalists ... but he is a familiar face, as well as an owner." That last fact "could wind up helping his candidacy if the owners, just as they did with Selig, are inclined to trust one of their own kind to best represent their interests" (BOSTON HERALD, 8/6). However, the N.Y. Times' Jorge Arangure wrote, "Pretty laughable that Tom Werner, who nearly killed baseball in San Diego, is a candidate for commissioner." The San Diego Union-Tribune's Jay Posner wrote, "That Tom Werner for commissioner thing is a joke, right? Who'd he beat out, Jeff Moorad? Roseanne?" (TWITTER.com, 8/6).
BEHIND THE SCENES: ESPN.com's Jayson Stark noted Manfred "has long been viewed as the favorite to succeed Selig." However, sources said that a dissenting group, which "has been led" by White Sox Chair Jerry Reinsdorf and Angels Owner Arte Moreno, "has nominated Werner for the job and has been working behind the scenes to rally the eight votes needed to block Manfred's election." If no candidate "is elected on the first ballot, owners would have to hold a second vote -- and possibly more -- until a candidate is finally elected." Manfred "has been to Selig what Adam Silver was to former NBA commissioner David Stern -- a longtime trusted aide who negotiated labor deals, handled crises such as the Dodgers' bankruptcy saga and was intimately involved in major issues ranging from drug testing to revenue sharing." Manfred "has taken criticism in recent months, however, for some of the methods baseball employed in its controversial Biogenesis investigation." Brosnan "has worked in the commissioner's office for 23 years and has had his hands in every significant broadcasting, licensing and sponsorship issue for more than a decade" (ESPN.com, 8/5). CBSSPORTS.com's Jon Heyman reported Reinsdorf "might possibly also favor a potential fourth fall-back candidate," D-Backs President & CEO Derrick Hall. Manfred in any case "is seen as a strong favorite after a big last couple years in which he negotiated a CBA more favorable to owners." While Reinsdorf "declined to say even who has his support, and in fact suggested he only has a 'leaning' at the moment, he did suggest no one should assume anyone always sees eye-to-eye with anyone else, no matter how close they may be" (CBSSPORTS.com, 8/5).
A LASTING LEGACY? SI's Joe Sheehan writes baseball was "unequivocally, permanently changed" by Selig's time in office. Twenty-two years "after he took over as acting commissioner, we're watching pennant-race baseball that would be nearly unrecognizable to fans a generation ago." With two months remaining in the season, Selig's "fingerprints are all over the standings, the schedule, the game on the field and the maneuvers in the front offices." Driving revenue to small-market teams like the Mariners, Indians and Royals was one of Selig's "pet projects" (SI, 8/4 issue). However, in L.A., Bill Shaikin writes on his way out, Selig "might be stained again with the residue of a drug scandal." Biogenesis Founder Anthony Bosch "has agreed to plead guilty to a conspiracy to distribute testosterone." A source yesterday said that in cooperating with MLB last year, Bosch "told league officials he had given them 'all the names he had,'" related to his clinic's doping scandal. An ESPN report indicated that multiple players not previously linked to Biogenesis "were identified in the federal investigation." If those names "are released, the inevitable suspensions could affect the pennant races and the free-agent market" (L.A. TIMES, 8/6).