The long-awaited heir to baseball commissioner Bud Selig has reportedly been revealed, and it should come of no surprise to anyone, especially Yankees fans who remember all the fun with the Alex Rodriguez suspension:
Manfred wins as commish— Michael S. Schmidt (@MichaelSSchmidt) August 14, 2014
That would be 55-year-old Chief Operating Officer Rob Manfred, who has worked for Major League Baseball for quite some time. Manfred beat out Red Sox chairman and part-owner Tom Werner and MLB VP of business Tim Brosnan to become baseball's 10th commissioner, as after a lengthy day of discussions in Baltimore, the eight owners who had been holding out for Werner conceded. Technically, Manfred passed as commissioner with a unanimous 30-0 vote, but as others have noted on Twitter, I'm sure the owners opposing Manfred (especially their mini-leader, Jerry Reinsdorf) earned some kind of concession in exchange for their support.
Either way, Manfred will take over for Selig when the 80-year-old former Brewers owner retires in January 2015. Plenty will be written about Selig's controversial legacy, but who is Manfred? The simplest biography comes straight from MLB.com:
On Sept. 28, 2013, Robert D. Manfred, Jr. was named Chief Operating Officer of Major League Baseball. In that role, Mr. Manfred reports directly to the Commissioner and oversees all of the traditional functions of the Commissioner's Office, including labor relations, baseball operations, finance, administration and club governance.
Prior to being named COO, Mr. Manfred served for 15 years as Executive Vice President of Labor Relations, leading the negotiations that resulted in new collective bargaining agreements in 2002, 2006 and 2011. Those agreements helped realize Commissioner's Selig's vision of competitive balance and club financial stability through reforms such as increased revenue sharing, more aggressive payroll taxes, reform of the amateur talent acquisition process and strict debt regulation.
Prior to joining Major League Baseball, Mr. Manfred was a partner in the Labor and Employment Law Section of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP resident in the Washington, D.C., office. Mr. Manfred received a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University and received his law degree magna cum laude in 1983 from Harvard Law School, where he was an articles editor of the Harvard Law Review. Following law school, Mr. Manfred served as a clerk to U.S. District Court Judge Joseph L. Tauro in the District of Massachusetts.
Manfred was also heavily involved in the A-Rod Biogenesis investigation, as was well-reported throughout the ordeal. The Yankees backed Manfred the whole time, which isn't terribly surprising given that his assistance rid them of A-Rod for this year. Given MLB's sketchiness in trusting a guy who sold PEDs to high schoolers, that already makes me wary of him. Of course, neither of the other candidates were very attractive options either, as Werner nearly drove the San Diego Padres into the ground when he was their owner in the early '90s, and Brosnan (who dropped out of the race before voting began today) is one of the head honchos behind MLB's ridiculous blackout policy.
Nonetheless, I'm sure we will learn more about Manfred and his policies as he ascends to the job and oversees baseball operations from 2015 and beyond. For all of Selig's crap, at least he kept some kind of harmony between the owners and the player's union every year after the disastrous 1994 strike that occurred while he was acting commissioner. Hopefully Manfred will also make sure that baseball maintains labor peace.