SBD/August 20, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

MLB Execs Say Reinsdorf Lost Influence With Unsuccessful Challenge To Manfred

Reinsdorf has been long regarded as the second-most powerful man in MLB
Some MLB execs say that White Sox Chair Jerry Reinsdorf "lost a lot of influence" after unsuccessfully fighting for Red Sox Chair Tom Werner to succeed Bud Selig as MLB Commissioner, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.com. Despite having "virtually no chance of success" of getting Werner elected over Rob Manfred, Reinsdorf "kept the fight going, even as the Rays and Brewers jumped on board and joined the Manfred camp, putting him within a single vote of being selected." Reinsdorf "then mentioned that there were other qualified candidates in the room who were not up for election -- and somebody then asked why Reinsdorf, a member of the search committee, hadn’t pushed forward those other would-be candidates before." Reinsdorf for years "has been regarded as the second-most powerful man in the sport, given his relationship with deal-making commissioner Bud Selig." But in the "midst of the process for choosing the commissioner, the decision was made in the room to allow Manfred to choose his own executive committee -- which Reinsdorf has been a part of in the past." A rival MLB exec said of Reinsdorf, "His judgement was so questionable during this process that he will be hurt. A lot of us don't understand what he was doing." Olney wrote Selig "was renowned for meting out carrots to those who followed his lead, such as positions on committees or particular events." But the expectation "is that Manfred will give everybody a seat [at] the table" (ESPN.com, 8/19).

ULTERIOR MOTIVES? In Chicago, Phil Rosenthal writes, "What's worrisome is the hackles raised by Reinsdorf's insistence on a discussion rather than a coronation, even if the proffered alternatives, TV exec-turned-Boston Red Sox co-owner Tom Werner and MLB exec Tim Brosnan, were destined only to delay Manfred's election, not prevent it." Reinsdorf "is an ironic evangelist for taking the views of others into account, and his stance may have been in response to no longer having as powerful a voice among the owners as he once did." The "stubborn single-mindedness that an individual owner such as Reinsdorf may be able to afford, the sport overall cannot," and "especially not now." There "are more dollars coming into baseball than ever, but in some ways the business has never been more challenged." Rosenthal: "Baseball needs a labor strategy, sure. But it also needs a TV, digital and marketing plan. All of it" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 8/20).
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