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Volume 21 No. 43
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Manfred fills out his roster

With top execs picked, more MLB shifts to come

With Rob Manfred’s overhaul of MLB senior executives complete, next up is the inevitable ripple effect through the rest of baseball’s ranks.

Manfred, who will become MLB’s 10th commissioner Jan. 25, last week named seven direct reports to him, including Bob Bowman, president of business and media, and Chief Operating Officer Tony Petitti (see list below). The reshuffling, in addition to the departure of Tim Brosnan, executive vice president of business, at the end of next month, will produce changes in the departments that report up to those seven senior executives.

One such prominent move is already underway. Several baseball sources said Rob McGlarry, MLB Network executive vice president, is poised to take over day-to-day operations of the league-run cable channel. Petitti, the network’s president and chief executive since its formation more than six years ago, is surrendering day-to-day management as part of his promotion to COO.

McGlarry has worked with baseball since 2003 in broadcasting-related positions, and played a role in the league’s recent long-term contract extensions with ESPN, Fox and Turner through 2021, collectively worth more than $12 billion.

Each of Manfred’s direct reports has been given the latitude to construct his own team that reports to him, and industry executives said plenty of additional changes at the senior vice president level and below are likely. Some personnel shifts might not occur until Manfred is formally in the commissioner role. But Bowman in particular is expected to bring some executive talent with him from MLB Advanced Media to the league’s Park Avenue headquarters in New York, where he will now be based.

“Any time there’s a big change like this, it’s naturally unsettling, and uncertainty is never healthy. But Rob and the rest of New York certainly know this, are well aware, and are working hard to make this transition as smooth and as quick as possible,” Arizona Diamondbacks President and CEO Derrick Hall said.

Said an industry source who frequently does business with baseball, “We’re definitely going to see a lot more movement. And it wouldn’t surprise me to see some new people come in from outside of baseball.”

MLB employees were briefed Thursday morning on Manfred’s senior-level appointments, in part a response to growing internal unease and curiosity over his intended changes. Brosnan spoke of his impending departure on a conference call Tuesday with team owners who had worked on the MLB Enterprises board that will soon be merged with one for MLBAM; MLB announced the news Wednesday.

Numerous industry executives and team owners cheered the moves, in large part because it aligns all of baseball’s business operations in a clearer, more unified leadership structure funneling to Manfred, Bowman and Petitti. MLB sponsors and media and business partners had long desired to have a more streamlined way to do business with baseball.

“I’m going to miss Tim. He’s been a friend, and he’s leaving baseball in far, far better shape than he found it,” said Oakland A’s owner Lew Wolff. “But we’re having a restructuring that I view as positive.”

Added Hall, “It’s a natural, I think, to align our business interests together behind Bob and Tony. They’re both very accomplished, have been very successful, and played a big role in helping Rob to get to where he is. I think the industry has a very bright future under this new direction.”