The three candidates to be the next MLB Commissioner -- MLB COO Rob Manfred, Exec VP/Business Tim Brosnan and Red Sox Chair Tom Werner -- will each make formal presentations tomorrow to the entire group of team owners during league meetings in Baltimore, according to league sources. The presentations, covering the scope of their candidacies and vision for the future of MLB, will happen prior to a scheduled vote Thursday, and represent a rare gathering of the full ownership for business purposes on the first day of the two-day league meetings. Typically, the first day of the quarterly sessions is devoted to smaller committee gatherings and a dinner among the owners, followed the next day by a general session of the entire ownership. But the commissioner succession vote, following a search conducted by a seven-owner committee appointed in May, has prompted a change in the typical meeting routine. Approval to succeed the retiring Bud Selig requires at least 23 of 30 owner votes. MLB and search committee executives declined to comment due to the sensitive nature of the matter (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer).
MANFRED MANN: Baseball writer Murray Chass reported it appears Manfred has the "support of 20 to 22 clubs, Werner six or seven and Brosnan one." One MLB official said that the Rays are "expected to support Manfred," and the Nationals are "leaning toward Manfred, but that is uncertain." Another official said that the Reds are "expected to vote for Brosnan on the first ballot because of his relationship" with Reds President & CEO Bob Castellini. But if no one is elected on the first ballot, the Reds are "expected to switch their vote to Manfred." If the Reds and the Rays vote for Manfred, he would have 22 votes, "one short of election." If Manfred receives 21 or 22 votes on the first ballot, it would be "difficult to see how the clubs," even under White Sox Chair Jerry Reinsdorf’s "heavy-handed politicking, could not accede to Selig’s wishes and give Manfred the additional vote or two that he needs for election" (MURRAYCHASS.com, 8/10). In N.Y., Sandomir & Schmidt note if neither Manfred nor Werner get the 23 votes required for election, that "could lead owners to turn" to Brosnan. They also could "reconsider" Brewers Owner Mark Attanasio or Rays Owner Stu Sternberg, both of whom "met with the search committee." If Werner gets eight votes, he "can block Manfred and make the process chaotic." The "history of several other commissioner elections shows that a deadlock among the known candidates can produce the unexpected -- and can damage the chances of the favorites" (NYTIMES.com, 8/12).
DOES WERNER HAVE A CASE? In Boston, Dan Shaughnessy writes, "Werner for commissioner? Please. The Red Sox 'chairman' is a nice guy, but he ran the Padres into the ground 20 years ago and nobody ever has been quite sure what he does for the Red Sox." However, Reinsdorf, Angels Owner Arte Moreno, and Red Sox Owner John Henry are "pushing for Werner." Reinsdorf believes Manfred has been "too soft on labor" and owners often "like having one of their own (Selig owned the Brewers) as commissioner." A Commissioner Werner would "no doubt be good for the Red Sox, but if Manfred is named, the Sox are liable to lose some of their sweetheart status, including the value of NESN when it comes to revenue sharing" (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/12).
A PLAYER'S TAKE: Cubs P and MLBPA player rep Carlos Villanueva, who is a member of the union's Exec Committee, said, "We don’t know who we’re going to be dealing with from the commissioner’s side. Hopefully it’s somebody that’ll come in and understand it’s all about the people, and we want to keep our game obviously going. Nobody wants a lockout or strike" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 8/12).