Skip to content

Who can possibly replace Bud Selig?

May 8, 2013, 3:00 PM EST

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. Rays have private workout with Yoan Moncada

    Jan 29, 2015, 10:50 PM EST

    cuba hat

    High-spending teams like the Yankees and Red Sox are among the favorites to sign Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada, but the Rays are also interested even if it’s fair to call them a long shot.

  2. Brandon Beachy won’t sign until closer to spring training

    Jan 29, 2015, 9:21 PM EST

    brandon beachy getty Getty Images

    Beachy is currently 10 months removed from the second Tommy John surgery of his career.

  3. Neal Cotts has agreed to a one-year deal with the Brewers

    Jan 29, 2015, 8:02 PM EST

    Neal Cotts AP AP

    Cotts compiled a 2.84 ERA in 131 appearances with the Rangers over the past two seasons.

  4. Phillies sign Chad Billingsley

    Jan 29, 2015, 7:04 PM EST

    Chad Billingsley Getty Images

    Billingsley hasn’t pitched in the majors since undergoing Tommy John surgery in April of 2013.

  5. Braves sign Eric Stults

    Jan 29, 2015, 6:45 PM EST

    Eric Stults Getty Getty Images

    Add another name to the list of fifth starter candidates for the Braves.

  6. Daniel Nava avoids arbitration with the Red Sox

    Jan 29, 2015, 5:42 PM EST

    ALCS - Detroit Tigers v Boston Red Sox - Game One Getty Images

    Nava requested $2.25 million and the Red Sox countered at $1.3 million.

  7. Ramon Santiago signs with the Blue Jays

    Jan 29, 2015, 3:15 PM EST

    Ramon Santiago AP

    Santiago spent last season with the Reds, hitting .246 with a .667 OPS in 75 games.

  8. Blue Jays sign Ronald Belisario

    Jan 29, 2015, 2:31 PM EST

    Ronald Belisario AP

    Belisario was awful for the White Sox last season, allowing 46 runs in 66 innings.

  9. Pete Carroll and Scott Boras are best buddies? Who knew?

    Jan 29, 2015, 1:00 PM EST

    Boras sulking AP

    Does this man look like he’d be a friend of a guy like Pete Carroll? Welp, he is.

  10. Omar Minaya is joining the MLB Players Association

    Jan 29, 2015, 12:45 PM EST

    Omar Minaya AP

    He’ll work with union chief Tony Clark.

  11. Jayson Werth to serve five days in jail for reckless driving

    Jan 29, 2015, 12:30 PM EST

    Jayson Werth AP

    We can, from now and forever, refer to Werth as the “The Nationals’ ex-con right fielder.”

  12. The 12th greatest GM of all time is the real “Moneyball” innovator, not Billy Beane

    Jan 29, 2015, 11:30 AM EST

    Sandy Alderson AP

    Brad Pitt was too young to portray him, though. Maybe Kevin Kline could’ve?

  13. Keith Law’s top 100 prospects list is out

    Jan 29, 2015, 10:39 AM EST

    Kris Bryant AP AP

    Kris Bryant of the Cubs tops the list.

  14. Blue Jays are on the hunt for veteran relievers

    Jan 29, 2015, 10:15 AM EST

    Francisco Rodriguez AP AP

    Francisco Rodriguez? Rafael Soriano?

  15. Rosenthal proposal: make relievers face more than one batter per appearance

    Jan 29, 2015, 10:01 AM EST

    Mike Pelfrey

    He’s gonna get big pushback from the LOOGY union, but is the idea a good one?

  16. Must baseball “change or die?”

    Jan 29, 2015, 9:09 AM EST

    dodgers shift

    Baseball should never fear innovation. But not all new rules are, by definition, innovation.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. J. Papelbon (5490)
  2. Y. Moncada (3585)
  3. I. Suzuki (3461)
  4. F. Rodriguez (3377)
  5. J. Shields (3263)