Manfred, man: Why should we not?
Whether it was Peter Ueberroth in 1984, Bart Giamatti in 1988, Fay Vincent in 1989 or Selig in 1992, all the [recent] previous baseball czars ascended to the top job by unanimous vote of the owners.
You would have thought that would be the case this time as well, with Rob Manfred, Selig’s No. 2 man, waiting in the wings after having been the point man for the most impactful commissioner ever…
And apparently, for the vast majority of owners, it is.
But a few, most notably Selig’s longtime closest friend in baseball, Chicago White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, don’t think Manfred is the right man for the job. They haven’t said why. They only say they want someone else, in this case Tom Werner, a part-owner of the Red Sox, or possibly Tim Brosnan, MLB’s vice president of business… And so there will be debate. The search committee, headed by St. Louis Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt, has presented the owners with the three candidates — Manfred, Werner and Brosnan — and on Wednesday, the candidates will make their cases before the owners. Then on Thursday morning, the owners will split into three groups of 10 each for question-and-answer sessions, followed by the vote…
An informal survey of owners has Manfred with 21 likely votes — the Yankees, Mets, Orioles, Indians, Royals, Tigers, Twins, Rangers, Mariners, Marlins, Phillies, Cubs, Pirates, Cardinals, Dodgers, Giants, Padres, Rockies, Astros, Braves and Rays. Werner has seven — the White Sox, Red Sox, Brewers, Angels, Blue Jays, A’s and Diamondbacks. And Brosnan has one — the Reds — because of his close friendship with Cincinnati owner Bob Castellini. The Nationals owners, who owe their stake to Selig, are also believed to be leaning toward Manfred.
Reinsdorf has to know Werner could never be elected. (“We would really hold ourselves up for ridicule and embarrassment,” said one team exec in regard to Werner.)
But 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…
the stakes are just as high here for the outgoing commissioner.
As another club exec said: “If we don’t come out of there Thursday with a new commissioner, it will be absolutely devastating for Bud.”
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