It’s just business.
Rob Manfred overcame some initial resistance on Thursday night to be elected as Major League Baseball’s next commissioner. He beat out Red Sox chairman Rob Werner for the position, ensuring that Bud Selig’s right-hand man and hand-picked candidate would be put into the position as planned.
As for the reason Manfred ultimately won, it’s simple: it’s just business.
Manfred has been in place and working closely with Selig during the last number of prosperous years in terms of MLB revenue. He has been a key figure in maintaining labor peace with the Players Union over the three collective bargaining agreements. As Jon Morosi writes, those were key factors in Manfred’s election:
MLB could surpass $9 billion in revenues in 2014, furthering an industry record that seems to climb higher each year. Labor peace has been assured through 2016, a span of 22 seasons. MLB’s national television rights agreements won’t expire until after the 2021 season.
If ever an election favored an establishment candidate, it was this one.
As the baseball world processes this news and looks ahead to Manfred’s tenure as commissioner, there are a number of concerns people would like to see addressed in terms of baseball’s pace, its national popularity, and its aging fan base. Suggestions like a “pitch clock” will flash past the news cycle for the next couple weeks as people generate their hopes and goals for the Manfred era.
Those items will come and go, however, and what will remain as the top consideration here is the money. These were the owners who voted, after all, and they’re as good at counting their money as anybody. In that regard, Manfred was a safe bet to keep things on their current trajectory for the men at the top and they elected him accordingly.
Selig worked the politics and Manfred promised to usher baseball into its modern era as this process unfolded. Ultimately though, this election was just about business.