They did if you believe Murray Chass. In his incredibly mean-spirited column today, he goes above and beyond to trash White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, details the supposedly-secret voting process that resulted in baseball’s 10th commissioner Rob Manfred, and lists the teams that initially were voting against Manfred. Though most in the industry have viewed Manfred as the odds-on heir apparent to Bud Selig, the voting process was apparently anything but smooth.
Personally I have no love for Reinsdorf; I feel like he’s a scrooge-like multi-millionaire who has pushed for years and years on all fronts to affect the industry in ways that lines his pockets even more. He was the ringleader on the massive free agency collusion case and he was the impetus for capping bonus money for amateurs. I can’t imagine the owners’ meetings being pleasant experiences right now, since Reinsdorf has basically ram-rodded into place policies that eliminated the advantages that small-market teams held in terms of player acquisition.
It was theorized elsewhere that a vote for his competitor (Red Sox chairman Tom Werner) was a vote for less revenue sharing, while a vote for Manfred was a vote for the continuation of Selig’s policies. But that doesn’t make much sense if you look at the teams supposedly voting against Manfred (which included initially several smaller market teams).
I’ve read elsewhere that the Nats changed their vote and swung the election with tacit promises that the MASN situation would be resolved. Which makes sense if its true, but I’m not sure how Manfred can do anything about the current lawsuits, injunctions and threats of MASN insolvency if the Oriole-owned RSN is forced to pay still-not-market rates for Nationals broadcast rights.
I have a long-in-draft mode post-morteming Selig’s tenure. But I wonder if it is worth publishing, knowing that nearly every baseball writer out there will be doing the same, and they’ll be doing it with more time and better contacts in the industry. We all kind of know the high and low points of his tenure. A post for another day.
So, Manfred is set to take over in January. I wonder what his impact will end up being.