Bud Selig was commissioner of Major League Baseball for so long that the guy who preceded him–Fay Vincent–didn’t think much about steroids. (Selig became acting commissioner in 1992.) But at 80, Selig’s called it quits and the MLB owners just selected Rob Manfred to succeed him. Manfred knows the job–he’s worked with Selig for 20 years. Matter of fact Manfred may even know more about steroids that Selig, since Manfred led the Alex Rodriquez investigation for the commissioner’s office.
And while Rob Manfred surely didn’t want the national pastime harmed by steroids, keeping baseball pure won’t be part of his new job description. Messing around with its formula is probably far more important. The game is in need of innovation as it tries to find a place in a much faster 21st century world. Yes, Manfred comes from the inside–not usually where you find the candidate to usher in radical changes–but he’s not just a good “baseball man.” Manfred is part of the Moneyball era–and he’s a CEO-type–not an old coach type. (Selig was a team owner.) Manfred will speed things up. Baseball’s not in trouble yet, but things happen pretty fast. Manfred’s job is to make sure Major League Baseball isn’t the next Blockbuster Video.