The promotion of MLB Exec VP/Economics & League Affairs Rob Manfred to COO yesterday "puts him in a favorable position" to succeed Commissioner Bud Selig, but that is "not a slam dunk," according to Tom Haudricourt of the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL. A search committee "will be put in place and ultimately it will be the decision of the owners." Manfred while at MLB has been "responsible for heading labor negotiations and economic matters such as revenue sharing." Selig with Manfred's appointment "began the transition process in preparation for his retirement in January 2015," and as a part of the transition Manfred will "oversee day-to-day management of the commissioner's office" in N.Y. Selig "runs his office out of Milwaukee" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 10/1). Manfred is the first person to hold MLB's COO title since the resignation of Bob DuPuy three years ago. Manfred has been MLB's point person on a bevy of prominent league issues, including three sets of CBA negotiations with the MLBPA; the Dodgers, Cubs, and Rangers bankruptcies; the MASN dispute involving the Nationals and Orioles; and the creation of the league's debt service rule (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer). In L.A., Bill Shaikin reported Selig's "public vote of confidence in Manfred is expected to be influential" in choosing his successor. There has been "no announcement of the formation of a search committee or the retention of a search firm" (LATIMES.com, 9/30).
SOMETHING WILD: In DC, Thomas Boswell writes MLB in the second year of its expanded 10-team playoff "may have found a formula that brings out the best (and worst) in teams." Boswell writes: "Call it Bud Selig’s legacy. Some would rather pound their thumb with a hammer than grant praise to the commissioner. ... But the Perfect Postseason may be his jewel." Almost all of MLB "thinks the four-wild-card format is better than the old system, more true to the traditional spirit." Boswell: "What grabs me is the extra energy in September. It simply feels like the new system tends to produce drama" (WASHINGTON POST, 10/1). However, ESPN.com's Doug Glanville wrote under the header, "One-And-Done Playoff Format Wrong." The system "keeps teams in it, and maybe it does magic at the ticket offices, but the concept is inconsistent with a game that has been going on for six months with rotations of pitchers and teams playing to win a series of games." Glanville: "If you get to the pinnacle of the mountain after a 162-game, snow-covered climb, you deserve to have more than one game to prove your worth" (ESPN.com, 9/30).