Reports: Not so fast on all the Iger-as-MLB-commissioner talk
MAY 28, 2014 5:05a ET
Less than a week after reports surfaced that Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger is drawing consideration from several MLB owners to become the league's next commissioner, multiple reports Tuesday indicate that Iger's chances of actually becoming commissioner are about as likely as Disneyland deciding to lower its prices.
First came a report in the New York Times which stated that, while Iger is intrigued by the prospects of becoming commissioner, even the "small but influential group of team owners" who have reached out to Iger acknowledge his chances of landing the gig "are not high."
Current commissioner Bud Selig, who turns 80 this summer, is stepping down as MLB commissioner in January after more than 22 years on the job.
"Selig and several other owners on his executive council met quietly this year and decided to focus the search on 'insiders' who work in the game. As word of that meeting spread, some team owners were disappointed because a large number of qualified people like Iger were being ignored.
To that end, former MLB commissioner Fay Vincent told Bloomberg that indeed Iger faces a long road to the commissioner's office.
"It would be very aggressive to bring in an outsider," Vincent, who was replaced by Selig in 1992, told Bloomberg. "The NBA showed that there’s an awful lot to be said for an insider."
That would be a reference to Adam Silver, who was NBA commissioner David Stern's top deputy since 2006 and was Stern's hand-picked replacement. Silver took over as commissioner in February of this year and in April earned wide praise for his decision to ban and fine Clippers owner Donald Sterling, and recommend league owners force Sterling to sell the team, in the wake of Sterling's racist-comments scandal.
Likewise, current MLB chief operating officer Rob Manfred is believed to be Selig's preferred choice to replace him as commissioner, and is viewed by most as the favorite to land the position.
Vincent acknowledged that the next commissioner should have a strong grasp of the inner working of MLB's politics:
"[Selig] was a former owner, the owners respected him and he was able to get things done. A lot of what’s going on today is him saying to the owners, 'I've done a good job, Rob Manfred is the expert on union affairs and you want to leave things in place.' That’s a respectable argument."