No Odds-On Favorite To Replace Selig, Though Manfred, Brosnan May Have Upperhand
MLB Commissioner Bud Selig's longheld "grip on the role" means it is "entirely unclear throughout all areas of the sport, from the league office to the union to inside clubhouses, who will be the sport's 10th commissioner" when Selig retires following the '14 season, according to Jeff Passan of YAHOO SPORTS. MLB Exec VP/Economics & League Affairs Rob Manfred is seen as the "odds-on favorite" to succeed Selig after serving for more than a decade as Selig's "No. 2, his consigliere, the man who has negotiated labor deals and understands the inner workings of the sport better than anyone." A source said that Manfred is the "safe and smart" pick. Passan noted compared to "other potential successors within the commissioner's office, Manfred's advantage is having weathered all aspects of the job." MLB Exec VP/Business Tim Brosnan is "even better versed in the money-making operations, and some consider him a stronger candidate than Manfred." While MLBAM President & CEO Bob Bowman has helped grow MLBAM into "one of the greatest new-media success stories there is, and is considered among the most brilliant people in the sport, two sources said his reputation as someone who is abrasive could hinder him from getting a job that relies so much on public perception." Others "on the periphery" are Tigers President & GM David Dombrowski, Mets GM Sandy Alderson and D-Backs President & CEO Derrick Hall (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 9/26). USA TODAY's Bob Nightengale writes while White Sox Chair Jerry Reinsdorf or Blue Jays President & CEO Paul Beeston "would be shoo-ins" among owners, they "have no interest." Manfred is the "most powerful man aside from Selig," while Brosnan is "responsible for the tremendous growth of the industry's TV deals that have been windfalls for owners." Nightengale also lists Dombrowski, Brewers Owner Mark Attanasio and Braves Chair & CEO Terry McGuirk as possible candidates (USA TODAY, 9/27).
NOT AN EASY UNDERTAKING: In Chicago, Phil Rogers writes under the header, "Replacing Selig A Monumental Task For Baseball." It is "anyone's guess" where MLB will turn, but "smart money says that the next guy will know the baseball business from the inside out, as did Selig, and that he will get a lot of help from his predecessor." Beeston, Alderson, former Orioles President of Baseball Operations Andy MacPhail and Dodgers President & CEO Stan Kasten are "likely to be considered once MLB gets around to naming its transition committee." But "don't be surprised if the next commissioner is currently among MLB's 30 owners." Cardinals Chair & CEO Bill DeWitt Jr. and Phillies President & CEO Dave Montgomery "might have the most appeal if owners decide to stay in house" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 9/27). ESPN.com's Jayson Stark wrote, "The next commissioner is not coming from outside baseball" unless it is "going to be a whole different sort of job than it's been" under Selig. MLB team owners "are not going to choose a commissioner they don't know, can't predict and possibly can't even trust." Stark ranked Manfred, Brosnan and Bowman as his leading three candidates to succeed Selig. However, Dombrowski is a "name to watch," as is Indians President Mark Shapiro. Stark wrote Hall, Attanasio and Giants President & CEO Larry Baer are the "types of names that are likely to well up if it becomes clear that neither Manfred, Brosnan nor Bowman have the votes to get elected" (ESPN.com, 9/26). Cleveland-based WEWS-ABC reporter Andy Baskin wrote people should look for Shapiro to "make the short list among experts." Shapiro has "experience on both the baseball operations and business side" (NEWSNET5.com, 9/26).
SHOULD MLB LOOK OUTSIDE? Author Jeff Pearlman said he hopes MLB "does the right thing with their next commissioner and brings in someone as they did when they brought in Peter Ueberroth -- an unbiased, impartial guy who's going to represent both sides." Pearlman: "Ever since they brought in an owner to fill it, I think that's been a real problem with the players" ("Rome," CBSSN, 9/26). In L.A., Bill Shaikin cites baseball sources who "believe owners are most likely to select one of their own or one of Selig's lieutenants." However, former President George W. Bush "previously expressed some interest in the job" (L.A. TIMES, 9/27).
WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS: ESPN.com's David Schoenfield listed the "five key issues for the next commissioner to address." They are "instant replay and quality of umpiring;" the DH issue; unresolved ballpark issues for the the A's and Rays; teams losing on purpose to gain high draft picks; and the "unbalanced schedule" (ESPN.com, 9/26).