Rounding Third: Selig gets his man

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Updated: 8/15/2014 12:09 pm

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Major League Baseball will have a new commissioner come January. And to nobody's surprise it's exactly the guy the outgoing commissioner wanted.

But, it wasn't exactly the rubber-stamped approval Bud Selig may have hoped for. In the end, though, he got his man in MLB chief operating officer Rob Manfred.

"Having worked with Rob for more than 20 years, and knowing the training he has had within our great game, I believe he is an outstanding choice who will bring true passion and leadership to Major League Baseball," said Selig.

Manfred, who has served as a league executive since 1998, will officially replace the retiring Selig and become the 10th commissioner in MLB history in January.

"I am truly honored to have been elected by the clubs of Major League Baseball, and I will work every day to honor their faith and support," said Manfred during a press conference held following his election. "I humbly extend my gratitude to all of our clubs. I also thank Bud Selig for his mentorship, friendship and his record of accomplishment as our sport's Commissioner. We have the greatest game in the world, and together, all of the contributors to our sport can make its future even brighter."

Manfed was elected unanimously on the third vote, which was kind of telling considering he was essentially handpicked by Selig to be his successor. Not to mention the fact that MLB owners raked in money hand over fist under Selig's watch.

You would have thought that alone would have made this one a no-brainer.

Still, Manfred fell one vote shy of the 23 required during Thursday's initial balloting and a consensus had still yet to be reached after a second poll was taken.

Selig, though, reportedly met with those dissenting and swayed them. Say what you want about Selig, but being able to turn the tide in situations like that might be his biggest attribute.

The biggest anti-Manfred guy was Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, whose preferred choice was Boston Red Sox chairman Tom Werner. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall in that meeting. Who knows what Selig said or offered Reinsdorf to actually change his mind.

So, who exactly is Rob Manfred?

Well, he joined the MLB office as the league's executive vice president of labor relations and human resources in 1998 and held that position for 14 years. He successfully negotiated three successive agreements with the players association during that period, with the game having avoided a work stoppage during Manfred's entire time in office.

The '02 deal was the first in more than 30 years that was negotiated without a work stoppage. And when the current agreement expires in 2016, baseball amazingly will have had 21 years of labor peace.

The 55-year-old also helped implement baseball's current drug testing program, one of the most stringent policies in sports.

"Without fanfare or glory, Rob has assembled a long and proven record of helping the game excel in fundamental ways," said St. Louis Cardinals chief executive officer Bill DeWitt, Jr. "He combines great intellect and forward- thinking creativity with unwavering respect for the contributions of the game's many constituents. The owners wholeheartedly support Rob's vision for the future of the national pastime, and we are proud that he will succeed Commissioner Selig in January."

Selig may have done a lot wrong in his time as commissioner. Who can forget the tied All-Star Game in 2002. And, of course, the steroid era will be a permanent stain on his resume and probably ultimately be his legacy. Nobody can argue, though, that he is handing the reins over the Manfred at a time when revenues are up in a major way across the board.

Financially, the game is in the best place it ever has been. Owners are making money. Players are making money. Everyone is happy, except for maybe the fans.

The biggest complaint amongst baseball fans has been the length of games, which has expanded thirty minutes since 1981 to three hours and three minutes.

Manfred didn't specifically address the implementation of a pitch clock, but most assume that could be near the top of his list of things to do.

For his first order of business, though, how about reinstating Pete Rose?

What do you say?

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