Q&A with Rob Manfred

The commissioner of Major League Baseball has placed a priority on developing the league’s special events and increasing youth participation in the game

Rob Manfred
Rob Manfred

When Rob Manfred was named commissioner of Major League Baseball in 2014, he took on the role of leading the game into an uncertain future. But his history with MLB made him an ideal choice. From 1998–2012 he was executive vice-president for labor relations and human resources, negotiating three new labor agreements. He later served as executive vice-president for economics and league affairs, and chief operating officer. Now he faces a host of issues that confront pro baseball including negotiating a new player contract, reducing the length of games and engaging the next generation of fans. He has also taken a strong interest in the league’s special events, abandoning a traditional rotation for hosting the All-Star Game.

In this interview with SportsTravel’s Jason Gewirtz, Manfred discusses the league’s special events, potential MLB expansion and the sport’s place at the Olympic Games.

One of your first moves was to abandon the American League/National League rotation of host cities for the All-Star Game for an open bid process among all teams any given year. Why did you make that move?

First of all, I’m not sure that rotation between the leagues is a recipe for good business decisions. I want the All-Star Game to go to the venues that will generate the most excitement for the game. We only have 30 teams and locking yourself into a rotation like that could put you in a position where you have to forgo what may be a really good opportunity. Secondly, we have traditionally tried to visit new venues. And if you just look at the way the stadiums came online, we worked our way through most of the new ones in the American League and we had a bunch of National League ones we hadn’t visited yet. So I thought it was important we tried to do that as well.

To read the rest of this Q&A in the digital edition of SportsTravel, please click here.