First it was Paul Tagliabue in the NFL. Then it was David Stern in the NBA. Now it’s Bud Selig in the MLB. After 22 years as the MLB’s Commissioner Selig is due to step down after the conclusion of the 2014 season, handing duties over to Rob Manfred who will be the tenth commissioner in league history. Manfred is currently the Chief Operating Officer and has been a part of the MLB since 1987. Manfred is a numbers guy, first coming on as VP of Economics and League Affairs before being promote to COO. With Selig gone that concludes the changing of the guard in the three major sports.
Manfred will have quite the shoes to fill with Selig leaving. In his 22 years Selig navigated the steroid era, helped make the All-Star Game more competitive and the Post-Season more exciting. Like Tagliabue and Stern, Selig helped elevate his league to the global spectrum. The World Baseball Classic started in 2005 has helped baseball reach global heights.
Manfred is taking over at a good time in baseball. There are no scandals looming over his head, no collective bargaining agreement to go over, just baseball. We have seen Roger Goodell and Adam Silver take over in the NFL and NBA in a similar condition and both have seen success. Goodell while criticized and probably not liked by his players still has the NFL at number one in American sports viewing. As for Silver, he has started with a boom. He gave that racist slob Donald Sterling the axe and has shone willingness to see not just what the owners want, but the players too.
If Manfred could land somewhere between Goodell and Silver everyone will be happy. I’m sure NHL fans are still praying for the day that Gary Bettman passes the torch and frees the NHL from his incompetence. Nevertheless, it’s good to see our sports league in relatively good hands.