Commissioner candidates make pitches ahead of vote

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 13, 2014 at 6:17 pm •  Published: August 13, 2014
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BALTIMORE (AP) — The three candidates in Major League Baseball's first contested election for a new commissioner in 46 years made presentations to the 30 teams Wednesday, a day ahead of the vote.

MLB Chief Operating Officer Rob Manfred, Boston Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner and MLB Executive Vice President of Business Tim Brosnan addressed team executives at a hotel a few blocks from Camden Yards in attempts to gain the 23 votes needed to replace Bud Selig in January.

They spoke for about an hour apiece, including PowerPoint presentations, and the owners attended an evening reception at the B&O Warehouse behind the ballpark's right-field wall. The executives will split into three groups of 10 for question-and-answer sessions Thursday before the vote, which will take place by secret written ballot. A three-quarters majority is needed for election.

"That certainly is the goal," New York Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner said. "That's why we're all here."

Manfred was estimated to have the support of 20-21 teams headed into the meetings, Werner of about six and Brosnan one: the Cincinnati Reds. There is no limit to the number of ballots, and it remained possible no one would gain election.

"I wouldn't even guess," Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno said.

Werner is supported by Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf and Moreno. Other teams have said Reinsdorf wants a commissioner who will take a harsher stance in labor negotiations for the deal to replace the collective bargaining agreement that expires after the 2016 season.

"I haven't been counting votes," Reinsdorf said. "I don't know where anybody stands."

Selig, 80, has ruled baseball since September 1992, first as chairman of baseball's executive council and since July 1998 as commissioner. The second-longest-serving head of baseball behind Kenesaw Mountain Landis (1920-44), Selig announced last fall that he plans to retire in January 2015. The trio of candidates was picked by a seven-man succession committee chaired by St. Louis Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr.

Manfred, 55, has been involved in baseball since 1987, starting as a lawyer with Morgan, Lewis & Bockius who assisted in collective bargaining. He became MLB's executive vice president for labor relations and human resources in 1998, received an expanded role of executive vice president of economics and league affairs in 2012 and last September was promoted to chief operating officer. He helped lead negotiations for baseball's last three labor contracts with players and the joint drug agreement that was instituted in 2002 and has been repeatedly strengthened.

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