Skip to content

Who can possibly replace Bud Selig?

May 8, 2013, 3:00 PM EDT

MLB Commissioner Bud Selig speaks during a news conference in New York Reuters

Don’t know! And neither does ESPN’s Jayson Stark. But Stark does have an excellent lay-of-the-land piece up today. What makes it good is that, unlike all of the “it should be George W. Bush, it should be some broadcaster, it should be some famous person” chatter that always comes up, Stark actually discusses what the job entails and why those flashy choices are mostly nonsense:

But here is the most important thing you need to remember: Nowadays, the commissioner of baseball isn’t the commissioner of The People. He’s the commissioner of 30 people — the owners. Period.

It is not a Great Leader/Ambassador of Baseball position like people came to think of it as until relatively recently. The Commissioner is not tasked with the popular perception of the game beyond what that means for the bottom line. What actually happens on the field in any specific way is, at best, a secondary or tertiary concern. The job is about making money for the owners. Period.

Now, it’s not quite as cynical as that all sounds given that, to make money for the owners, the Commissioner has to make sure fans’ butts are in seats and in front of televisions. And he has to make sure the players are happy and wealthy enough to avert labor stoppages. Within that there are all manner of things that may seem Ambassadory and Great Leadery. But at the end of the day, if the owners aren’t happy, the Commissioner is gone. His job is to be the CEO of a group of 30 allied businesses and a couple of major broadcast and marketing subsidiaries.

Which is why, as Stark notes, some famous person is highly unlikely to get the job or even to be seriously considered. The only type of people who could possibly do it are people who used to lead broadcast networks, perhaps. Stark mentions NBC’s Dick Ebersol and ESPN’s George Bodenheimer. I think someone like that could probably do it if the owners are convinced that broadcast and online expertise are going to be the critical issues going forward. But even if that’s so, there are some in-house options like Bob Bowman of MLBAM who could provide some of that as well. None of them, however, strike me as people who would want to have to sit at a table and actually endure someone like Jeff Loria.

In reality, I think the most likely candidates are the ones Stark mentions from within the game. Current team owners and/or team presidents or people who have worked in MLB’s executive offices already. It’s not a sexy list, but it’s not a sexy job either.

Latest Posts
  1. Carlos Correa out fourth straight game with hamstring injury

    Aug 30, 2015, 11:59 AM EDT

    Carlos Correa AP

    This is probably a case of the ‘Stros playing it safe with a young star. They do have a four-game lead in the American League West standings and Correa has been pushed hard over the last three months.

  2. Lance Lynn expects to make next scheduled start despite suffering ankle injury Saturday

    Aug 30, 2015, 11:01 AM EDT

    Lance Lynn, Mike Matheny AP

    Cardinals right-hander Lance Lynn rolled his right ankle in the eighth inning of a shutout bid Saturday against the Giants and had to be pulled from the game, but it sounds like he is going to be fine.

  3. Cubs expected to call up Javier Baez on September 1

    Aug 30, 2015, 10:24 AM EDT

    Javier Baez AP

    Baez batted just .169/.227/.324 and racked up a whopping 95 strikeouts in 52 games last season for the Cubs, but he’s made great strides with his plate approach this year on the farm and he could slide his way into regular playing time in Chicago if he hits well out of the gate.

  4. Video: Bryce Harper destroys a bat after swinging strikeout

    Aug 30, 2015, 9:40 AM EDT

    Bryce Harper Bryce Harper

    Bryce Harper took some frustration out on a now-former bat of his Saturday night at Nationals Park …

  5. Settling the Score: Saturday’s results

    Aug 30, 2015, 8:56 AM EDT

    Adrian Beltre AP

    Your box scores and AP recaps from Saturday …

  6. A fan died at Turner Field after falling from the upper deck

    Aug 30, 2015, 12:03 AM EDT

    Turner Field Getty Images

    A fan heckling Alex Rodriguez from the upper deck fell and died at Turner Field on Saturday night.

  7. Alex Gordon likely to rejoin the Royals on Tuesday

    Aug 29, 2015, 11:05 PM EDT

    Oakland Athletics v Kansas City Royals Getty Images

    The Royals will likely get Alex Gordon back when the calendar turns to September.

  8. Mariners will skip Felix Hernandez’s start on Monday

    Aug 29, 2015, 10:10 PM EDT

    Felix Hernandez Getty Images

    Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon wants to keep Felix Hernandez fresh through the end of the season, so he’ll skip his ace’s start on Monday.

  9. Indians will activate Gavin Floyd from the disabled list on Tuesday

    Aug 29, 2015, 9:15 PM EDT

    Gavin Floyd Gavin Floyd

    Gavin Floyd will pitch out of the bullpen for the Indians when he is activated on Tuesday.

  10. Francisco Rodriguez was claimed on waivers, but the Brewers pulled him back

    Aug 29, 2015, 8:20 PM EDT

    francisco rodriguez getty Getty Images

    The Brewers pulled Francisco Rodriguez back after he was claimed on revocable waivers last week.

  11. Mets acquire Addison Reed from the Diamondbacks

    Aug 29, 2015, 7:28 PM EDT

    Addison Reed Addison Reed

    The Mets have bolstered their bullpen, acquiring Addison Reed from the Diamondbacks.

  12. Lance Lynn exits Saturday’s start with an ankle injury

    Aug 29, 2015, 7:15 PM EDT

    Lance Lynn Lance Lynn

    Lance Lynn hurt his right ankle in the eighth inning of Saturday’s start versus the Giants.

  13. Astros place Jason Castro on the disabled list, promote Max Stassi

    Aug 29, 2015, 6:55 PM EDT

    Max Stassi Max Stassi

    Max Stassi will return to the majors as Jason Castro was placed on the disabled list on Saturday.

  14. Vin Scully says 2016 will be his last season of broadcasting

    Aug 29, 2015, 6:05 PM EDT

    vin scully getty Getty Images

    2016 will be Vin Scully’s last season behind the mic.

  15. Report: Mets claim Marc Rzepczynski on revocable waivers

    Aug 29, 2015, 5:26 PM EDT

    MILWAUKEE, WI - AUGUST 06: Marc Rzepczynski #45 of the San Diego Padres pitches during the sixth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park on August 06, 2015 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Rzepczynski was just acquired by the Padres last month, but he could soon be on the move again.

  16. Edwin Encarnacion slugs three home runs as Blue Jays thrash Tigers

    Aug 29, 2015, 5:25 PM EDT

    Toronto Blue Jays' Edwin Encarnacion rounds the bases following a three-run home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers in Toronto on Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015. (Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT AP

    Encarnacion extended his hitting steak to 24 games and also drove in a career-high nine runs.

  17. Report: The Padres pulled Craig Kimbrel back off waivers

    Aug 29, 2015, 4:22 PM EDT

    San Diego Padres closer Craig Kimbrel pumps his fist as he watches the final out in the Padres' 3-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves in a baseball game Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi) AP

    Kimbrel won’t be traded this season.

  18. Anthony Gose forgets how many outs there after catching fly ball, run scores from second base

    Aug 29, 2015, 3:57 PM EDT

    cD05ODdlNmNhY2MwMjRlZWQzNTJhM2ViYTQ1Y2VlY2YzOCZnPTRlMDNlNmY2MWJkMTQ0Y2NhM2I0YmQzNjcxNTNmN2Y0 Getty Images

    Gose had a costly brain camp this afternoon against the Blue Jays.

  19. Important: There will be a Meeting of the Mookies this afternoon

    Aug 29, 2015, 1:13 PM EDT

    NEW YORK - OCTOBER 04:  Mookie Wilson formerly of the New York Mets waves to the fans before throwing out the first pitch for a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in game one of the National League Division Series at Shea Stadium on October 4, 2006 in the Flushing neighborhood of Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Mookie Betts and Mookie Wilson will meet Saturday afternoon at Citi Field.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. D. Wright (2543)
  2. D. Span (2381)
  3. G. Stanton (2342)
  4. Y. Puig (2289)
  5. J. Fernandez (2251)
  1. B. Crawford (2167)
  2. G. Springer (2100)
  3. M. Teixeira (1948)
  4. M. Sano (1842)
  5. H. Pence (1797)