Selig Mum On Successor, But Not Concerned About Potential Chaos In Voting
MLB Commissioner Bud Selig yesterday in Baltimore refused to speculate whether tomorrow's vote on his successor will deliver a definitive choice and avoid an impasse among the owners. But Selig said he was not concerned about potential chaos within the voting or the impact a temporary impasse might have on the sport. “We’ve had a thorough (search) process. Clubs are empowered to vote the way they want to vote, and we’ll see what happens,” Selig said. "But the notion of suffering any damage? I reject that completely. If there was something flawed in the process, that would be one thing, but this seven-man committee has done a really great job. ... The process has worked just the way I thought it would. I gave them a great list of names, and these names were on it. Apparent I didn’t do too badly. The only goal I've really had all along is when it’s all over, people can say, 'that was really fair,'" he said. Selig, as he has all year, refused to place his public support behind any of the three named finalists: MLB COO Rob Manfred, MLB Exec VP/Business Tim Brosnan and Red Sox Chair Tom Werner. But he said he remains convinced the ongoing search will deliver a fair process. No new candidates will be added to the list this week, leaving the choice for now to simply these three. Manfred, estimated to have about 20 club votes, is seen as the prohibitive favorite. But a block of owners remained concentrated around Werner, and an impasse for at least this week remains a distinct possibility. Selig, after last week issuing a public statement insisting the succession issue was not a subject of owner infighting, delivered another gag order for team owners prohibiting public comment on the subject. Owners will likely conduct at least several secret ballots tomorrow. If a full impasse is reached, it is likely the succession committee led by Cardinals Chair & CEO Bill DeWitt Jr. will be asked to keep searching for candidates. Other possibilities include former Yale President Richard Levin, who was extensively researched by the succession committee, Brewers Owner Mark Attanasio and Rays Owner Stu Sternberg (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer).
A LOOK AT THE CANDIDATES: USA TODAY's Bob Nightengale notes the Manfred camp, led by the Yankees and "other big-market teams, says he has been assured of 20 votes." They "argue Manfred is the perfect choice, maintaining the status quo for a sport that's projected to generate" $9B this year. The Werner camp, led by the Red Sox and "small-market teams, maintains he also has strong support: 11 votes, with eight still undecided." They "argue that Werner is the visionary that baseball needs." With his "deep knowledge of the TV industry, Werner has the tools to pump life into baseball's sagging ratings." MLB "needs a fresh face, a new voice, they say, with attendance stagnant the past decade." Meanwhile, the Brosnan camp is "staying relatively quiet." His supporters "believe Brosnan has unparalleled business acumen and is a stronger inside candidate than Manfred, but fear he doesn't have a realistic chance." If Brosnan "can't generate enough votes in the first ballot, he will swing his support to Werner." In fact, Brosnan and Werner "could join forces, with Werner as commissioner and Brosnan as deputy commissioner" (USA TODAY, 8/13).
CONTROLLED CHAOS? White Sox Chair Jerry Reinsdorf reportedly is pushing for Werner, but in N.Y., Bill Madden writes Reinsdorf "has to know Werner could never be elected." If Reinsdorf is "able to hold seven teams in place and force a stalemate, that would serve his purpose just as well." If no one is "able to secure the necessary 23 votes for election, the process could get put off until the next owners’ meeting in November, giving Reinsdorf’s group additional time to come up with an alternative candidate." Creating that kind of "chaos would be an abomination, not to mention a slap in the face to DeWitt, who gave the owners plenty of time to bring forth their candidates and whose committee conducted a very thorough process" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 8/13). On Long Island, David Lennon notes Selig "wouldn't say what might happen next if his successor is not agreed upon Thursday." He noted he has not thought about the list of candidates potentially changing. Selig: "We have an election. We have a process to go through. I want to go through it. There's no sense in me sitting here and engaging in hypotheticals. We're sort of on new ground. Let's see what happens" (NEWSDAY, 8/13).