SBJ/July 11-17, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Bankruptcy saga, labor talks leave MLB’s Rob Manfred with little down time

Perhaps the most crazed executive at Major League Baseball these days is Rob Manfred, executive vice president for labor relations and human resources.

The league’s point person for more than a year on the Los Angeles Dodgers saga, Manfred in recent weeks has seen that battle explode into a bitter fight in federal bankruptcy court over the future of the team.

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Manfred is managing two of baseball’s most pressing and complex issues.
At the same time, Manfred is MLB’s lead executive negotiating a new collective-bargaining agreement with the MLB Players Association.

When Commissioner Bud Selig opted not to replace MLB’s president and chief operating officer, Bob DuPuy, after his departure last fall, Manfred became an even more important figure at the league. But Manfred last week played down his status managing two of baseball’s most pressing and complex issues.

“I’m doing fine. Everybody seems to be worried about me and asking about my schedule,” Manfred said. “But I don’t think the Dodgers activity has affected the labor negotiations.”

Both Manfred and Michael Weiner, MLBPA executive director, declined to characterize the status of the labor talks, adhering to an agreement between the league and union not to discuss the negotiations publicly. The two sides have been meeting regularly since the early spring, including a session last Wednesday in Washington, D.C.

The current five-year accord expires in December.

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