New MLB commissioner has big shoes to fill, but he should do great

Published 9:08 pm Friday, August 15, 2014

Rob Manfred, who was hired Thursday to replace his retiring boss Bud Selig as commissioner of Major League Baseball on Jan. 25, will have a number of very important issues to deal with.

He and all the MLB team owners must first of all decide how to deal with their salary issues and their strict drug-testing program.

Baseball is currently the only professional sports league that does not have a hard salary cap. However, if a team exceeds a certain amount of pay roll, they are required to pay a luxury tax, which goes to the smaller market teams with lower combined salaries. With an infusion of luxury tax money small market teams are able to go after a high price free agent from time to time. It somewhat evens the playing field and that is a good thing.

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Outgoing commissioner Bud Slelig had to deal with some thorny issues of his own during his time as commissioner. Not the least of those issues was dealing with the cleaning up of the steroid issue. The current collected bargaining does not end until after the 2016 season.

Because of his diligence on the steroid issue, top home run hitters like Barry Bonds, Mark Maguire and Sammy Sousa will likely never get in the Hall of Fame. Likewise, all time base hits leader Pete Rose, who bet on baseball, will probably never make it to the Hall of Fame either.

There are warnings posted on the wall in every major league clubhouse telling players that it is absolutely against the game’s rules to bet on major league games.

I will always admire former Atlanta Braves All-Star third baseman Chipper Jones for the stance he took on the use of performance enhancing drugs. He said he could look anybody right in the eye and tell them he never used any performance enhancing drugs.

Paul White of USA Today sports recently reported that baseball revenue has steadily increased to record numbers under Selig. He pointed out that they are projected to be in the clear this year and that teams are lining up record TV contracts. He says the team owners remain the commissioner’s boss.