The reign of Bud Selig as Major League Baseball Commissioner has lasted over 22 years, which included the lowest point in memory (the 1994 strike) and the current high point of fiscal health ($8 billion in annual revenue) for the game. After the election of new commissioner Rob Manfred was confirmed August 14, many are wondering how the man considered Selig’s trusted lieutenant would differ from the departing commish. In fact, it appears Manfred was endorsed as the figure most likely to continue Selig’s legacy.
Alternatives to Manfred
Manfred is the Chief Operating Officer of MLB who has the reputation of an efficient executive who tackled some unpleasant jobs Selig delegated to him in recent years, among them the Biogenesis scandal and labor agreements with the MLB player’s association (MLBPA). While Manfred strengthened the drug policy and succeeded in suspending star players from Manny Ramírez to Alex Rodriguez, rival candidates for the commissioner post had aims to challenge the MLBPA, often considered the country’s most powerful union.
Tim Brosnan, a top MLB business executive with the game’s lucrative TV deals on his resume, withdrew from the process at the beginning of the August 14 vote. Tom Werner, a Red Sox executive who appeared poised to take on the MLBPA with different challenges, represented the only legitimate faction (with White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf behind him) that stood in opposition to Manfred’s bid. The New York Post reports that at one point in the proceedings, Werner had 10 of the 30 owners’ votes to Manfred’s 20.
So what made the three to four team owners move over to Manfred’s side?