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Volume 22 No. 35
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Forty Under 40: Morgan Sword

Photo: mlb

Top Major League Baseball executives such as Commissioner Rob Manfred and Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem are typically the ones generating headlines around the league’s labor matters and relationship with the MLB Players Association. But outside of that spotlight, Morgan Sword is deeply involved in virtually every major function surrounding player movement and compensation.

 

Senior Vice President, League Economics and Operations, Major League Baseball

Age: 33

Born: Princeton, N.J.

Education: University of Virginia, B.A., economics; MBA, Columbia Business School

Family: Wife, Lindsay; children, Hudson (2), Wyatt (3 months)

What gets you fired up? Salary arbitration hearings.

You wish you knew 10 years ago: There’s no such thing as a stupid question.

Profession you’d most like to attempt: TV showrunner.

Guilty pleasure: “Vanderpump Rules.”

Something your friends would consider “so you”: Having a slice of pizza as an appetizer.

Could not go a day without: The NYT crossword puzzle app.

Cause supported: Innocence Project.

Person you’d most like to meet: UVA basketball coach
Tony Bennett.

Sports industry needs to do a better job of … : Getting kids to play.

We’d be surprised to know that … : I was in a college a cappella group called the Hullabahoos.

Sword helps oversee the league’s annual amateur draft, and the salary arbitration and free agency system. His portfolio also includes many key elements of the sport’s overall economic system, including revenue sharing, debt service and the competitive balance tax, as well as the contractual relationship with Minor League Baseball. 

With MLB for more than a decade, Sword originally was hired in the league’s labor department, and quickly saw his duties expand along with colleague and mentor Chris Marinak, now the league’s executive vice president for strategy, technology and innovation.

More recently, Sword’s influence also has extended into emerging areas such as sports betting and experimental playing rules. Sword has testified before state legislatures as legalized sports betting becomes a reality. And he was a key figure in MLB’s newly struck three-year deal with the independent Atlantic League to test new on-field rules and equipment.

“We’re in a really fascinating time in the industry. A lot of things are changing very quickly,” Sword said. “We’ve seen the clubs get very focused, for example, on how they develop players, which in turn creates a huge amount of impact throughout the industry. It’s been very interesting to see this all develop from the inside.”