Rob Manfred emerged yesterday as Major League Baseball’s next Commissioner, ultimately winning a unanimous election from the game’s owners after a minority group had initially gathered enough votes to stall Manfred’s victory. As Bob Nightengale of USA Today writes, the participants in the day’s proceedings emerged with a positive tone. “While Rob may not have been my initial choice for commissioner, the conclusion of a very good process was to name Rob as the person best positioned to help baseball endure and grow even stronger for the next generation of fans,” said White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, said to have led the opposition. “Everyone wants baseball to flourish. Today’s decision was reached by 30 owners voting separately but speaking, in the end, with one voice.”
- Manfred says he has a clear mandate on the game’s modernization, pointing to “a huge amount of consensus” in that area. Labor may prove a trickier field to navigate, though Manfred certainly has unmatched experience dealing with the MLB Player’s Association — which, in part, may have explained some of the resistance to his assumption of the Commissioner’s chair. “The biggest thing is always labor peace,” said Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner. “That’s never going to change. These things come around every few years and there’s a lot at stake.”
- The relationship between Manfred and recently-elevated MLBPA executive director Tony Clark appears to be solid, writes Jon Morosi of FOX Sports, who says that bodes well for the future. Many of the things that Manfred will hope to accomplish will require cooperation from the players, of course.
- The new Commissioner-elect will indeed have many priorities to tick through, many of which Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca lists. Some relate to a theme that many have stressed in recent days: improving the game’s appeal to younger fans. Thorny player contract and competitive issues may also be on the table, with plenty of attention falling on service-time considerations in prospect promotions as well as the function of the qualifying offer system.
- Earlier today, MLBTR’s Steve Adams asked readers to assess whether Manfred was the right choice. A plurality (and near-majority) concurred with the league’s owners, with nearly 30% of respondents saying that an alternative direction should have been pursued rather than Manfred and the other two finalists for the position.