SBJ/May 30 - June 6, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

With ‘meaningful things’ left to do, O’Conner will seek second term as MiLB’s president

Minor League Baseball President Pat O’Conner said last week he has “unfinished work yet to do,” prompting him to pursue a second four-year term leading the affiliated minor leagues.

SHANA WITTENWYLER
Pat O’Conner is finishing a four-year term as Minor League Baseball president.
O’Conner had a May 31 deadline to notify MiLB’s board of trustees on his re-election intentions, and before the season a second term was not a foregone conclusion. But after an extensive “personal inventory,” O’Conner last week formally declared his intentions.

“I wasn’t interested in this being just a maintenance-type job,” said O’Conner, 52. “But I still see some really big, important and meaningful things out there I want us to tackle.

“We can still do more deepening our bonds with the fans, particularly coming out of where we’ve been with the economy over the past couple of years. There are things we still need to tighten up” in Vero Beach, Fla., site of a MiLB-controlled sports complex, and Durham, N.C., site of another MiLB-operated multipurpose venue and industry training facility.

He also wants to keep expanding the Baseball Internet Rights Co. and the organization’s partnership with MLB Advanced Media.

O’Conner, who has spent more than 30 years in minor league baseball at the team and national level, has already overseen a sweeping series of changes in his first term as MiLB president. Among them are the pooling of the industry’s online rights, a six-year extension to 2020 of the master Professional Baseball Agreement with MLB, and the realignment of two Class A leagues.

A formal election on O’Conner’s candidacy will occur in December. It is not yet known whether he will face any competition, but in 2007, after years of serving as chief operating officer to former MiLB President Mike Moore, O’Conner ran virtually unopposed.

“I have no idea who else might be a candidate. But with Pat, there are definitely a lot of positives coming out of this decision,” said Reid Ryan, president and chief executive of Ryan-Sanders Baseball, owner of two minor league teams, and a member of MiLB’s board of trustees. “When you weigh everything that’s happened with him, there are many more marks in the plus column than not.”
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