There have been rumblings throughout the course of MLB's search for commissioner Bug Selig's successor that a rift had developed between Selig and Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, who has long been one of the out-going commissioner's closest friends and confidants.
The alleged dissension reportedly stems from a disagreement over the search process, and more specifically Reindorf's desire for candidates other than Rob Manfred, Selig’s top lieutenant and suspposed hand-picked successor, to receive equal consideration for the job.
As we learned earlier this week, a vote is expected to take place on Aug. 14 in Baltimore, with Manfred, Boston Red Sox chairman Tom Werner and MLB executive vice president of business Tim Brosnan noted as the three finalists for the job. That would seemingly indicate that other candidates have been seriously discussed and are viewed as viable options, which should leave everyone satisfied.
With that in mind, Selig went out of his way on Friday to release a statement praising the work of the seven-member Succession Committee headed by St. Louis Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt, while squashing any reports of discord between himself and Reinsdorf.
“Since discussions began in January about formulating an orderly process for selecting the next Commissioner, I have stated both privately and publicly that my desire was to conduct a thorough, thoughtful and discreet search that includes the input of all 30 Major League Clubs. The seven-member Succession Committee, which was named on May 15th and has been chaired with distinction by Bill DeWitt, has accomplished this goal while working independently to get to the point we are today. While Bill has kept me well-informed, the results of this process are a reflection of the Committee’s work alone, and I have not promoted individual candidates.
“As we approach next week’s vote, I will continue to encourage Clubs to voice their opinions within the confines of this process. Reports of personal animosity between Jerry Reinsdorf and me – or any other alleged disputes between owners regarding the process or the candidates – are unfounded and unproductive. I respect the ownership of our 30 franchises and have complete faith that the process will produce an individual that all in Baseball will be eager to support.”
That's Selig's side of the story, which according to Reinsdorf was accurate. Here's what he had to say to USA Today on Friday.
"I'm tired of people saying I'm in some sort of feud with Selig. That simply is not the case. Why do people say we're fighting?”
Much ado about nothing? At this point, probably so. Although where there's smoke there's usually fire, so it's possible they weren't on the same page for at least some of the process.
Either way, a resolution could be coming as soon as Aug. 14 if the expected vote takes place. At that point, the new commissioner will need approval from 23 owners of the 30 teams, so that could be where the process runs into its next hiccup as the owners make their decision. Time will tell on that, and we'll be watching closely to see how it plays out.
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