It seemed a slam-dunk that Major League Baseball's Chief Operating Officer, Rob Manfred, would be named to succeed Bud Selig as MLB's commissioner. There was apparently some opposition to him, led by White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf. Reinsdorf, whether you like it or not, wields quite a bit of power among his fellow owners.
So they formed a committee. This has been typical procedure under Selig -- form a committee that doesn't take action, like the one that's been discussing the Athletics and San Jose for the last five years.
Anyway, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, there are now three finalists for the post:
Major League Baseball has identified three finalists to replace Commissioner Bud Selig and will vote on the successor Aug. 14, a high-ranking MLB executive with direct knowledge of the hiring process told USA TODAY Sports. The owners, according to the executive, will choose between Rob Manfred, MLB's chief operating officer; Tim Brosnan, MLB's executive vice president of business; and Boston Red Sox chairman Tom Werner.
Werner is a late entry into this field and it would be somewhat surprising if he were chosen, but I'll bet he's Reinsdorf's stalking horse. I don't know that much about Brosnan, but clearly, someone well-versed in business matters for MLB would likely be a decent choice for the job, though it would be surprising if he were chosen over Manfred, who has dealt with a lot of labor-relations issues over the years. The MLB/MLBPA contract comes up for renewal after the 2016 season and it'll take someone who knows that type of negotiation well to lead the owners' side of the talks.
In the end, I suspect Manfred will be chosen. It takes a three-quarters vote of all owners -- 23 of 30 -- to approve a new Commissioner.
Maybe we'll even know who it will be by the time Bud Selig says he's officially retiring: January 24, 2015.
I'm adding a poll to this post, though you might not know the three choices well, post your vote, and if you'd like to see someone else (though that person probably has zero chance of actually getting the job), leave your choice in the comments.