9 Things You Should Know About Future MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred
Baseball’s got a new commissioner. Twenty years after the Bud Selig era began, it wound down, culminating in yesterday’s election of new top dog for baseball. The man is Rob Manfred, and we don’t know too much about him. More accurately, we don’t know many interesting things about him. We’re just now starting to learn about the guy, so it’s not like he was living off the grid or something. The public and media are just now, in light of his recent election, trying to learn more about him. Here’s what we got so far.
What does that mean, exactly? It means that he’s been pretty close to the commissioner for quite some time, so electing Rob Manfred as commissioner wouldn’t be like electing a crossing guard or someone who works at Quizno’s. Although Manfred didn’t get the COO gig until the end of the 2013 season, the position had been vacant since 2010. How could COO be so important if the MLB didn’t have one for three years? That, I don’t know.
9. He Was the COO of Major League Baseball
I don’t know how much the public values Bud Selig as a judge of character, but Selig was the one who promoted Rob Manfred to COO, and further supported him in the election for the commissioner, which pitted Manfred against Red Sox chairman Tom Werner. I’ll let you catch your breath. This list is going to be a thrilling ride, and we still have seven entries left.
8. He Was Groomed and Supported by Bud Selig
Perhaps the biggest looming obligation for whoever was elected commissioner is the current labor agreement between the players and the owners. It expires December 1, 2016. And history has taught us that the odds of seeing a lockout or strike go up exponentially with every day that reaching an agreement gets delayed. However, Rob’s specialty in law was labor and employment, so if you wanted a guy who knows how to deal with strikes and such, he’s the one.
7. He’s Got a Labor Agreement to See to Once He Begins in January
More specifically, he’s a Harvard Law man. He served as counsel for the league during the strike-shortened 1994 season, and was brought on as an executive in 1998. He’s been in the league since then, but his experience on the front lines of these labor issues could prove invaluable during his tenure. While there are no shortage of duties as a sports commissioner, nothing comes close to the blight on the sport of a lockout or strike.
6. He’s a Harvard Man
While focusing on labor is no doubt important, a focus there means that he doesn’t have as much acumen in marketing or other softer sides of the business. That’s not to say he doesn’t have the skills for them, or that he can’t learn them quickly. I mean, I don’t think David Stern was wowing anyone with those talents when he came into the league, and he did a legendary job in promoting the game on a global level. So it’s not to say that Manfred CAN’T do it, we just don’t know if or how he will.
5. He’s Not a Marketing Guy
There were two candidates for commissioner – Rob Manfred and Tom Werner. In order to be elected commissioner, you need 23 votes – roughly 75% of the ownership. In the first go-round, Manfred got 22. Close, but no cigar. Then the ownership retreated, worked some stuff out, maybe read Maxim, ordered some pizza, then voted a few more times. In the final one, Manfred then got every vote. All 30. My hunch? Rob Manfred isn’t afraid to hire vicious thugs to coerce people into voting for him.
4. His First Election Was Close, Then It Was Unanimous
Now, that’s not exactly true, as the companies would be the teams themselves, but the entire league (a collective?) would be managed and steered by Mr. Manfred. I don’t think this will end up like Tommy Boy or anything (Manfred has as good a resume as anyone could), but it’s still a daunting proposition.
3. Rob Manfred Will Essentially Be Running an $8 Billion Company
While many saw it as a cancer on the league and demanded drug tests and harsher penalties, Manfred was the one who put those policies in place through negotiations with the player’s union. That may not have made him the most popular guy in locker rooms, but baseball’s new stance shows that they’re not just paying lip service to the issue.
2. Manfred Has Been the Guy That Cracked Down on Doping
Like, he REALLY likes wearing suits.