I've been meaning to link to this story for awhile, but other things got in the way. Anyhow, Jerry Crasnick at espn.com produced a list of possible successors to Commissioner Bud Selig, who has said he will vacate his throne in 2009.There at the top of Crasnick's list is a familiar, bespectacled face. Crasnick writes:
Folks in Chicago don't look so fondly on MacPhail, who stepped down in September after two playoff appearances in 12 years as Cubs president. Amid the doleful postmortems, he went to work as a pivotal player in baseball's labor negotiations -- doing enough to earn a seat at the table when the new five-year deal was announced during the World Series.I have no particular thoughts about this. Other than being offended by his friendship with the Shopping Mall King, I've never been particularly bothered by Selig. I hate interleague play and the forced significance MLB has attached to the All-Star game, but those weren't Selig's ideas alone; he is just the mouthpiece.
MacPhail's father and grandfather are Hall of Fame executives, so he has the historical pedigree. And while the players' association respects him for his sensible and dogged approach to collective bargaining, he has experience running a small-market club in Minnesota and a bigger one in Chicago. His front-office colleagues in Minnesota still talk about him in almost worshipful tones.
Most important, MacPhail is not a self-promoter, and Selig has a high regard for him. Don't discount that as a factor.
The owners long ago stripped the Commissioner's office of any real power, and I guess MacPhail could play the role of empty suit as well as anybody. As with Selig, I don't despise the guy the way many other people around here do.
I just wish he had remembered to pack his genius pills when he moved down from Minneapolis.