mlb baseball commissioner candidates election werner manfred

BY foxsports • August 14, 2014

I'm a cynic by nature, and by experience.

I don't mean by personal experience, really. For as long as I can remember, I've been the beneficiary of innumerable kindnesses, and I can count the number of people who have been downright unpleasant to me on one hand.

Okay, maybe two. But that's including when I deserved it.

Rather, my cynicism derives from hundreds of observations of naked self-interest, even while claiming immutable principles. Of course, this is best seen in politicians, who will argue stridently for something if the political winds are blowing that way, and stridently against the same thing if the winds have changed.

But here's another great example, from today's proceedings in Baltimore:

Once it became Werner’s turn to speak, he was verbally confronted by Bill DeWitt, the owner of the St. Louis Cardinals and the head of baseball’s search committee to find a new commissioner. DeWitt, who is seen as a Manfred supporter, asked Werner pointedly where he stood on revenue sharing, the system in which richer teams provide money to smaller-market teams, ostensibly to spend on player contracts.

DeWitt said that Werner had been for revenue sharing when he was running the small-market San Diego Padres in the 1990s. But now, in the last decade as one of the owners of the Boston Red Sox, a big-market, big-revenue team, DeWitt said Werner had become critical of the system.

DeWitt told Werner, according to the one of the owners present, that he had just given his entire presentation without even addressing revenue sharing. So what was his position? DeWitt asked. Put on the spot, the person said, Werner tried to answer without making a definitive statement.

Apparently not satisfied with that response, Stuart Sternberg, the owner of the small-market Tampa Bay Rays, jumped in and also tried to pin Werner down, asking whether he would increase revenue sharing to small market teams. At that point, the person said, Werner said he would not.

Or to bring us back to politics, Werner was for revenue-sharing before he was against it.

Which I think will hurt his candidacy, simply because the number of teams that play in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and New York constitutes a minority, and I believe the majority will favor even more revenue-sharing than exists now.

That's my hope, anyway. This has been a lousy year for the big-money clubs, relatively speaking. But until there's some meaningful limit to spending on international free agents, those big-money clubs will continue to enjoy an unfair edge.

share story