Manfred same, but different than Selig

Fri Aug 15, 2014 12:28am EDT
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By Larry Fine

BALTIMORE (Reuters) - Rob Manfred shares some of the same qualities as outgoing Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig, but as the next commissioner he is expected to bring more of a modern management style to the job.

Manfred rose to MLB prominence by forging a strong working relationship with the Players Association as the owners' head of labor relations for 15 years, achieving an era of labor peace after decades of stormy conflict.

He used the goodwill gained from three successful Collective Bargaining Agreements with the players' union on another critical collaboration with the players - the joint drug agreement that has helped baseball battle use of performance enhancing drugs.

Selig has often been drawn as a masterful consensus builder himself, a quintessential backroom dealer able to win support for his initiatives.

"He is the Rocky Marciano of baseball politics. He is undefeated," former MLB commissioner Fay Vincent told ESPN Radio about the prowess of Selig before the owners' meeting.

On Thursday, Selig kept his record intact as protege Manfred triumphed despite falling shy of the 23 votes required from the 30 clubs on the first six ballots due to a stubborn challenge by owners backing Boston Red Sox chairman Tom Werner.

In the end, Manfred benefited from the glow of Selig's success, which in the last 11 years took MLB's revenues from $3.9 billion to $8 billion.

St. Louis Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr., head of the owner's candidate search committee, said: "I think some of Rob's greatest attributes are his ability to reach consensus."   Continued...

Aug 14, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Newly elected commissioner of baseball Rob Manfred speaks at a press conference after being elected by team owners to be the next commissioner of Major League Baseball. Mandatory Credit: H.Darr Beiser-USA TODAY Sports