SBD/August 14, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

All Eyes On Baltimore As MLB Owners Convene To Elect League's Next Commissioner

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Manfred represents the clearest continuation of the Selig era in baseball
UPDATED 6:23pm: Multiple reports, including from staff writer Eric Fisher, confirm that Rob Manfred has been elected as the next commissioner of Major League Baseball in a 30-0 vote after a long day of deliberations in Baltimore.

UPDATED 12:50pm: CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman reports MLB Exec VP/Business Tim Brosnan has withdrawn his name for consideration for MLB Commissioner prior to today's vote.


MLB owners today in Baltimore will vote on who will succeed Bud Selig to become the league's 10th commissioner. Following yesterday’s presentations to team owners by the three finalist candidates -- MLB COO Rob Manfred, MLB Exec VP/Business Tim Brosnan and Red Sox Chair Tom Werner -- many said they were confident a voting impasse could be avoided and a new commissioner will be selected today. But several teams believed to be part of a voting block against the Manfred candidacy, including the Angels and A's, conversely said after the presentations they were not certain today’s vote will deliver a winning candidate. Approval requires at least 23 of 30 team owners. “I couldn’t tell you that,” said Angels Owner Arte Moreno when asked if an impasse will be avoided. “I’m just one of 30 owners.” Added A’s co-Owner Lew Wolff, “I don’t know. I know what you’re asking. But I’m just not sure.” Many other clubs were more hopeful a major voting conflict will not happen, likely boosting the chances for Manfred. An election for Manfred or an impasse with another vote later this year remain the two most likely scenarios to happen today. Marlins President David Samson said it is "critical for the sport" that a successor is named without an impasse. Several other team owners also said privately that MLB would suffer a black eye if a definitive choice is not made today. “Eventually, there’s got to be white smoke,” Samson said, referring to a papal election. “I don’t think anybody will change their vote after today. But it’ll be interesting to see if they do. I sort of liken (yesterday's presentations) to Supreme Court oral arguments. The justices aren’t necessarily changing their votes just because somebody made a great oral argument. But it was a very interesting day. Three great presentations. Baseball has a lot of issues in front of it, and each of them had real ideas how to address them in different ways.” 

DEWITT DECLINES TO SPECULATE: Cardinals Chair & CEO Bill DeWitt Jr., who chaired the Selig-appointed succession committee, declined to speculate on the chances any of the finalists following the presentations. “I’m not a handicapper. ... We have three great candidates and I’m optimistic we’ll have a commissioner.” Added Giants President & CEO Larry Baer on reaching a choice today, “Why not? I would assume so. That’s what we’re here for.” An impasse would force DeWitt and the committee to restart portions of the search process and seek a vote later this year, as Selig earlier this week said only the three finalists will be considered today. The Manfred candidacy by far would represent the clearest continuation of a Selig era that has produced industry-record revenue, attendance and franchise values. The block supporting Werner, however, believes Manfred has not been tough enough with the MLBPA and that Werner’s wildly successful television background would help the league remain relevant in a more wide open media landscape. Meanwhile, the Brosnan candidacy is based more on the potential of providing a compromise choice between the different Manfred and Werner factions, as well as Brosnan’s successes with the Fan Cave, revenue growth and int'l development.

Follow Eric Fisher on Twitter (@EricFisherSBJ) for live updates from today’s meeting.
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