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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Owners want a debate, not inevitability that Rob Manfred will succeed Bud Selig as MLB commissioner

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.”

The District Attorney Posted: August 13, 2014 at 04:01 PM | 48 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: bud selig, business, commissioner, jerry reinsdorf, rob manfred, tim brosnan, tom werner

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Howie Menckel Posted: August 13, 2014 at 04:43 PM (#4770434)

I work with the niece of one of the finalists, which is one of the few ways to make this saga entertaining to me....
   2. BDC Posted: August 13, 2014 at 04:48 PM (#4770440)
MANFRED: I have done men good,
And I have met with good even among men—
But this avail’d not: I have had my foes,
And none have baffled, many fallen before me—
But this avail’d not.
   3. valuearbitrageur Posted: August 13, 2014 at 05:06 PM (#4770454)
Could Manfred run the MLB from jail?
   4. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: August 13, 2014 at 05:16 PM (#4770461)
Trying to put a positive spin on this I'm glad they aren't just going for a rubber stamp. I'm as big a Red Sox homer as you'll find but I can't get excited about Werner though. There may be an argument against Manfred and effectively the status quo but I haven't heard it yet.
   5. Sonic Youk Posted: August 13, 2014 at 05:21 PM (#4770465)
Agreed, Werner would almost certainly mean big time labor strife. I prefer budball to no baseball.
   6. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: August 13, 2014 at 05:23 PM (#4770468)
I don't think there's anything more to see here than Jerry Reinsdorf being who he is.
   7. The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 13, 2014 at 06:04 PM (#4770500)
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. . . .The Nationals owners, who owe their stake to Selig, are also believed to be leaning toward Manfred.

If this tally is correct, all the owners directly involved in the Nationals TV rights dispute - both teams and the arbitration panel members - are backing Manfred. I would have thought it'd have been more divisive.
   8. The District Attorney Posted: August 13, 2014 at 07:43 PM (#4770572)
Bob Nightengale:
The Manfred camp, led by the New York Yankees and other big-market teams, says he has been assured of 20 votes... The Werner camp, led by the Red Sox and small-market teams, maintains he also has strong support: 11 votes, with eight still undecided.
   9. Win Big Stein's Money Posted: August 13, 2014 at 07:50 PM (#4770576)
Would either of them be good for the fans? Is there any inclination of what kind of commish they'd be?
   10. boteman is here Posted: August 13, 2014 at 07:52 PM (#4770579)
I think #7 might be an example of voting for the devil that they know. Perhaps Angelos and the Lerners have good offices with Manfred and hope to use those good offices to persuade him in their favor on the MASN dispute. Almost certainly there are internal politics at work that we can't know.
   11. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: August 13, 2014 at 08:01 PM (#4770584)
Would either of them be good for the fans? Is there any inclination of what kind of commish they'd be?


What do the fans have to do with it?
   12. cardsfanboy Posted: August 13, 2014 at 08:06 PM (#4770587)
Would either of them be good for the fans? Is there any inclination of what kind of commish they'd be?


I think the assumption is that Manfred would be more or less a continuing of Selig's last 10 years. I have to assume anyone that Reinsdorf is endorsing is someone who will be a hardliner for a hard salary cap.
   13. The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 13, 2014 at 08:06 PM (#4770588)
The Manfred camp, led by the New York Yankees and other big-market teams, says he has been assured of 20 votes... The Werner camp, led by the Red Sox and small-market teams, maintains he also has strong support: 11 votes, with eight still undecided.

How many ballots before they turn to the face of Major League Baseball, Derek Jeter?
   14. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: August 13, 2014 at 08:16 PM (#4770599)
I think the assumption is that Manfred would be more or less a continuing of Selig's last 10 years. I have to assume anyone that Reinsdorf is endorsing is someone who will be a hardliner for a hard salary cap.


This is very likely correct. If I recall correctly things I've read over the years, Reinsdorf is the ringleader of the "I'd rather let it all burn than do without a hard cap" faction.
   15. Bhaakon Posted: August 13, 2014 at 08:21 PM (#4770606)
Would either of them be good for the fans? Is there any inclination of what kind of commish they'd be?


What should the commish do about the fans, anyway? I mean, as a fan, all I really want him to do is make sure there are no work stoppages and make an effort to not let the game go the way of boxing. Both of these are things that the majority of owners seem to want as well (barring some huge revenue downturn that make a lockout palatable to them).

It would be nice if the commish went on a crusade to cut the length of games, interceded to stop this "you must not wear the opponent's colors if you're in an expensive seat" nonsense, and made a real effort to get Jeffery Loria out of baseball, but I'm not holding my breath.
   16. cardsfanboy Posted: August 13, 2014 at 08:25 PM (#4770609)
It would be nice if the commish went on a crusade to cut the length of games, interceded to stop this "you must not wear the opponent's colors if you're in an expensive seat" nonsense, and made a real effort to get Jeffery Loria out of baseball, but I'm not holding my breath.


I would almost support something as utterly stupid as a salary cap, if it's contingent of getting rid of Loria, that is how much I hate him(I'll even throw DH in the NL).

   17. cardsfanboy Posted: August 13, 2014 at 08:28 PM (#4770610)
What should the commish do about the fans, anyway? I mean, as a fan, all I really want him to do is make sure there are no work stoppages and make an effort to not let the game go the way of boxing. Both of these are things that the majority of owners seem to want as well (barring some huge revenue downturn that make a lockout palatable to them).


The thing is that the Reinsdorf guy would have no qualms about allowing another work stoppage in order to get what he wants. Selig learned from that mistake(and it's probably his biggest regret as commissioner).

   18. Bhaakon Posted: August 13, 2014 at 08:32 PM (#4770613)
The thing is that the Reinsdorf guy would have no qualms about allowing another work stoppage in order to get what he wants. Selig learned from that mistake(and it's probably his biggest regret as commissioner).


Which is why I said "the majority".

It seems like the Reinsdorf group is in the minority. Most owners are happy to let the goose continue to crap out golden eggs.
   19. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 13, 2014 at 08:32 PM (#4770614)
What should the commish do about the fans, anyway?
Eliminate interleague play and the wild card.
   20. cardsfanboy Posted: August 13, 2014 at 08:44 PM (#4770630)
Eliminate interleague play and the wild card.


I would prefer to change the second game of interleague play by visitor rules... and I really liked the idea that someone proposed that the second wild card team has to win two games (home/home series) From a fan perspective the wild card is preferable as more teams in the post season, means more fans have a vested interest in the game. (I personally love interleague play, but wouldn't mind some tweaks....the first tweak I wanted is happening now, which is all season long...the second tweak would be to modify the rivalry system)
   21. Win Big Stein's Money Posted: August 13, 2014 at 08:47 PM (#4770633)
Well call me crazy but it would be nice if we had a commish who could at least fake not being a bloodthirsty leech out to suck every last penny and who can actually mix in the best interest of the sport every now and then.

Little things like not screwing ten of thousands of employees out of their pension just so those poor billionaires could make an extra buck. Not cumming up with an asinine playoff format just to milk that tv revenue to the last drop. Or not arbitrarily handing out suspensions, just to stroke his ego and prove what a stand he's taking to the media.
   22. zonk Posted: August 13, 2014 at 08:53 PM (#4770640)
Blinded by the slight...
   23. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: August 13, 2014 at 09:04 PM (#4770649)
1. Out of interest: why would Werner make them a laughingstock? I honestly don't know.

2. On the other had, Jerry Reinsdorf has nothing but bad ideas and anybody who has his backing is someone I'm going to oppose.
   24. boteman is here Posted: August 13, 2014 at 09:48 PM (#4770684)
What should the commish do about the fans, anyway?


Eliminate all of them! They're nothing but trouble anyway.
   25. Textbook Editor Posted: August 14, 2014 at 12:01 AM (#4770741)
The Manfred camp, led by the New York Yankees and other big-market teams, says he has been assured of 20 votes... The Werner camp, led by the Red Sox and small-market teams, maintains he also has strong support: 11 votes, with eight still undecided.


That totals up to 39 votes... Something is not quite right, or I guess some people are telling each camp what they want to hear, leading to double-counting...

You'd think they'd be hard-pressed to screw this up with so much $ sloshing around, but leave the owners to their own devices and they seem destined to do so.
   26. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: August 14, 2014 at 12:34 AM (#4770748)
"Gentlemen, we have the only legal monopoly in the country, and we're ####### it up."
   27. Walt Davis Posted: August 14, 2014 at 01:12 AM (#4770759)
Inevitability really doesn't care if you want it or not ... it's inevitable.

What's next? Owners arguing against their fate?
   28. Flynn Posted: August 14, 2014 at 10:03 AM (#4770870)
It's a good thing the MLBPA is being led by a .262 hitter without a law degree.
   29. just plain joe Posted: August 14, 2014 at 10:11 AM (#4770878)
I would prefer to change the second game of interleague play by visitor rules...


Well, they could eliminate the DH and then everybody would be playing with the same rules, all the time. I don't like interleague play nor do I care for more wild card teams but I understand why they are deemed necessary. Isn't Reinsdorf the owner who was all militant about standing firm against larger salaries and wanting a hard salary cap, and then two days later signed some free agent to a huge contract? Too busy (and too lazy) to look it up right now.
   30. The District Attorney Posted: August 14, 2014 at 12:50 PM (#4771061)
Heyman reports Tim Brosnan has dropped out.
   31. eddieot Posted: August 14, 2014 at 01:06 PM (#4771078)
It's a good thing the MLBPA is being led by a .262 hitter without a law degree.


Whose general counsel attended Harvard Law with the previous executive director and was hand-picked by him to take over as chief lawyer. The union has no shortage of brilliant legal minds. Besides, Clark, as an ex-player, will be far more persuasive to the current players to stick together for a cause. There seems to be a perception that because Weiner died, the union is suddenly weaker. I just don't see it.

In fact I think electing Manfred could weaken the owners' resolve a bit because he's a corporate guy and not "one of them." Bud was able to build consensus because he had skin in the game. Manfred will most certainly be a more divisive choice.
   32. McCoy Posted: August 14, 2014 at 01:19 PM (#4771085)
This meeting would have been really cool to have been held at my hotel. Alas, right town, wrong hotel.
   33. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: August 14, 2014 at 01:31 PM (#4771090)
Well call me crazy but it would be nice if we had a commish who could at least fake not being a bloodthirsty leech out to suck every last penny and who can actually mix in the best interest of the sport every now and then.


Anyone who would do that is not going to become commissioner.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. For all his flaws it is going to be hard for the person who follows Bud to be as good as he was. Yeah, 1994/1995 was a shitshow but we've got 20 years of labor peace and it won't surprise me a single bit if the next commish sends us headlong into a work stoppage the next time the CBA expires.
   34. McCoy Posted: August 14, 2014 at 01:41 PM (#4771095)
If we get a work stoppage it is because the owners wanted it not because of who is commish
   35. zack Posted: August 14, 2014 at 02:09 PM (#4771113)
Well call me crazy but it would be nice if we had a commish who could at least fake not being a bloodthirsty leech out to suck every last penny and who can actually mix in the best interest of the sport every now and then.

Despite his faults, this was not Selig. If you want to see a bloodthirsty leech look at Bettman or Goodell (new NBA guy undecided).
   36. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: August 14, 2014 at 03:37 PM (#4771188)
What time is the vote? It's 3:30 on the east coast right now, is it time to start reading something into the lack of an announcement or is the vote expected to be later?
   37. valuearbitrageur Posted: August 14, 2014 at 03:48 PM (#4771196)
Now that Sports Illustrated revealed how the MLB coerced an Arizona county police department to hold women hostage (at gunpoint outside of their jurisdiction no less) so the MLB could interview their relative, how long before Robb Manfred is named in an indictment?
   38. AROM Posted: August 14, 2014 at 03:49 PM (#4771197)
Well call me crazy but it would be nice if we had a commish who could at least fake not being a bloodthirsty leech out to suck every last penny and who can actually mix in the best interest of the sport every now and then.


Landis had a certain amount of independence due to the circumstances that made him the first commissioner. For everyone after that, the commissioner is simply an employee of the owners. If at any time they appear to put the interests of fans or players ahead of the owners, they will be replaced.
   39. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 14, 2014 at 03:52 PM (#4771200)

What time is the vote? It's 3:30 on the east coast right now, is it time to start reading something into the lack of an announcement or is the vote expected to be later?


The vote was 22-8 for Manfred, not enough to confirm him. Needs one more.

Bud Selig begrudgingly accepts another term as Commissioner. (not really, but...you never know).

Well call me crazy but it would be nice if we had a commish who could at least fake not being a bloodthirsty leech out to suck every last penny and who can actually mix in the best interest of the sport every now and then.


If baseball is a "national pasttime" and not a business subject to anti-trust laws, then the Commissioner should be appointed by the federal government.
   40. The District Attorney Posted: August 14, 2014 at 04:45 PM (#4771236)
NYDN Sports I-Team
@NYDNSportsITeam

Eight MLB teams backing Werner over Manfred for commissioner: Jays, Red Sox, White Sox, Nats, Angels, A's, Arizona and Reds
   41. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: August 14, 2014 at 05:02 PM (#4771252)
Eight MLB teams backing Werner over Manfred for commissioner: Jays, Red Sox, White Sox, Nats, Angels, A's, Arizona and Reds


Surprised to see Arte in the Reinsdorf/Lerner alliance. What's up with that?

One of those eight owners is going to get bought off to swing to Manfred; maybe Arte figures it may as well be him.

Edit: Actually it shouldn't be surprising at all to see Arte in the Hard Cap or Bust faction given the Dodgers' recent spending habits, come to think of it. So never mind. I have to imagine it'll be Arizona or Cincinnati whose owner ends up agreeing to sell his vote to Selig.
   42. Ziggy Posted: August 14, 2014 at 05:20 PM (#4771274)
If Reisendorf did go nuts on a FA contract immediately after arguing for a hard cap, that would make perfect sense. The idea behind a salary cap is to tie your own hands. As long as there's no cap the rational thing to do is keep bidding on a FA until he takes your offer or you hit the point that your bid equals the marginal revenue you expect him to generate. The idea behind a cap is to make it that you can't do that anymore.
   43. The District Attorney Posted: August 14, 2014 at 05:29 PM (#4771288)
I have to imagine it'll be Arizona or Cincinnati whose owner ends up agreeing to sell his vote to Selig.
FWIW, I also saw a tweet saying it was the Brewers rather than the Nats voting for Werner.

Maury Brown:
Second verse, same as the first… after the initial round of voting failed to secure an outcome, the second vote yielded the same results. Current MLB COO Rob Manfred fell just one vote shy of being elected as the next commissioner of Major League Baseball, according to multiple sources and first reported by CBS Sports... According to The Associated Press, team officials huddled after the first vote before the meeting was to recommence. When the second vote was taken, owners stuck to their positions with the vote tally the same.
   44. Moses Taylor World Re-Tour 2.0: Warszawa Posted: August 14, 2014 at 05:37 PM (#4771298)
If Reisendorf did go nuts on a FA contract immediately after arguing for a hard cap, that would make perfect sense.

He kinda did that after the last strike, with the Albert Belle deal. Took plenty of heat for that one.
   45. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 14, 2014 at 06:08 PM (#4771321)
Someone flipped their vote. Is one of the teams voting for Werner gunning for the 2016 ASG?
   46. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: August 14, 2014 at 06:13 PM (#4771324)
Heh, it reminds me of a Braveheart quote: "I gave Mornay double his lands in Scotland and matching estates in England. Laughlin turned... for much less."
   47. Swedish Chef Posted: August 14, 2014 at 06:24 PM (#4771330)
Oh no! scooped to my quip in another thread, the shame.
   48. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 14, 2014 at 06:27 PM (#4771334)
Nats were going for the 2017 ASG FWIW. Blue Jays haven't hosted in awhile.

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