Because Bud Selig can’t go around telling everyone that baseball is more popular than ever for eternity, the MLB has been quietly searching for its next commissioner, for some time now. The league recently narrowed its search to three candidates who will be subject to an owners’ vote next week, on August 14. Who are they? Given Major League Baseball’s tendency for internal promotion, the results shouldn’t be that surprising. First reported by USA Today, the owners will be voting between Rob Manfred, the MLB’s chief operating officer; Tom Werner, chairman of the Boston Red Sox; and Tim Bronson, the MLB’s executive vice president of business.
In order for the new commissioner to be approved, 23 of the 30 team owners must vote positively, which means that it only takes eight owners to scuttle a candidate’s chances at the commissionership. While Selig not so secretly favors Manfred, ESPN reported that some owners, including the owner of the Angels, Arte Moreno, as well as the chairman of the White Sox, Jerry Reinsdorf, are opposed to the idea, and lobbied for Werner’s inclusion. Assuming no one is able to garner 23 votes on the first go-around, the owners and chairmen simply vote again until one of the them meets the requirement. In other words, any kind of filibuster only serves to extend the voting, not cancel it completely.
During their respective careers within the MLB, Mansfred has been at the forefront of labor negotiations with the players, successfully avoiding any sort of lockout, strike, or other interruption to the game of baseball, while Brosnan has overseen licensing and broadcasting. Werner is probably most famous for his severe mismanagement of the San Diego Padres in the early ’90s, but he’s avoided doing the same thing to the Red Sox: “That was 20 years ago, guys, leave him alone,” is how we imagine that being justified today, or tomorrow, or on August 14.
Differences between the three candidates might not appear to amount to much at first blush — or even second, or third. All of them have decades of experience within the MLB, which seems to be one of the biggest criteria in electing a new commissioner, as Selig’s past life as a minority owner of the Milwaukee Brewers bears out. News of the search for a a successor was announced informally in 2013, when the commissioner announced that he was going to be retiring.
“We’re obviously looking for a strong CEO and a visionary leader who has a passion for the game and will look to maintain the integrity of the game,” Bill DeWitt, owner of the St. Louis Cardinals and the chairman of the selection committee, told reporters in May. “We’re looking for someone who will build on the tremendous accomplishments and legacy of Bud Selig.” Selig is expected to stay with the MLB after he retires as commissioner.