Thursday afternoon, the decision that most were expecting became official. Rob Manfred was elected as the next Commissioner of Baseball with a tally of 30-0 in a vote by the owners. Yes, even Lew Wolff complied. Manfred will be the 10th Commissioner in baseball history, taking over for Bud Selig. While Selig has done a lot of good for the game in financial terms, there are two issues that Rob Manfred should immediately deal with. The first is tightening up the Buster Posey Rule. The second is once and for all resolving the Athletics’ stadium issue.
The Athletics franchise has been in limbo with a possible move to San Jose for many years, partly due to Bud Selig’s inability to make a ruling in the matter. The other part is the San Francisco Giants owning territorial rights in the area, and are blocking the Athletics from exploring opportunities down South. Frankly, the Giants haven’t been very neighborly.
With a new Commissioner in place, the A’s have a chance to start over. Whether owner Lew Wolff is still interested in moving to San Jose (of course he is) or whether he is content to keep the A’s in Oakland is another question entirely, leaving the “where?” in question
According to an article on SportingNews, Manfred is the candidate backed by Yankee management, and their happiness with the labor piece that baseball has enjoyed the past twenty years. The article goes on to say that baseball has increased its profitability by 150% since 2003, now generating $9 BILLION a year. “This is just 1 billion behind the NFL.”
Let’s ignore the just in that sentence for a moment and focus on the fact that baseball is generating close to NFL numbers.
Rob Manfred would have no reason to change how business is being run by sticking his neck out on a big decision like the Athletics’ ballpark any time soon, especially with the A’s new lease agreement in place. Manfred was the safe choice. He will get accustomed to his new gig before truly taking over for one Allan Selig.
While building a new ballpark for the Athletics would invigorate the fan base, driving up ticket sales, merchandise and concessions, I just don’t see this issue being resolved in the immediate future.