Last week, Major League Baseball chose Rob Manfred to succeed Bud Selig in January as its next Commissioner. I have been asked what my feelings are about this selection and what we are trying to accomplish at Montreal Baseball Project. To begin, the new Commissioner is gap-toothed and has a great personality, which is a great start between him and me. With all of his experience with Major League Baseball and over two decades of labor peace, allowing the game to be successful for so many years, Rob Manfred has a lot going for him.Here is my personal top 10 list of what I would like to see him do:
- Market the game even better to ensure its growth
- Promote baseball in inner cities
- Put more minorities in executive positions
- Work on speeding up the game
- Get rid of the designated hitter
- Raise the height of the mound to reduce the stress on pitchers' arms and cut down on some of their injuries (hitters won't like that one)
- Make the World Baseball Classic part of the All-Star break
- Limit interleague play to the pre-season
- Start all playoff and World Series games between 4 and 7 p.m. so more people, especially children, can watch the game
And last, but not least:
- Help bring Major League Baseball back to Montreal!
The return of baseball to Montreal would be a big part of his legacy, and would immediately reaffirm the international reach of the game and reconnect it with a missing part of its history. I am certain Rob Manfred has had conversations with Bud Selig about Montreal, and is well aware of what we are trying to do. I think he will be fine, and so will we. We have to continue to do what we have been doing and keep our ears open for his first public comments about Montreal as a future location for a franchise.
In late July, I had the great pleasure of meeting Gabriel Morissette and Adry Laurin, two Montrealers visiting every MLB stadium this summer to promote the idea of bringing baseball back to this city. I must say I am tremendously proud of these two for going on this 3-month journey in support of this dream we all share. Their initiative demonstrates the groundswell of support there is at the grassroots, particularly among the youth, for the return of MLB to Montreal.Every visit of theirs has become an opportunity to strike up a conversation with baseball fans all across America about how deeply the game resonates in Montreal. Their journey is raising a lot of awareness and publicity for what we are trying to do, even though their car is not in the best shape. By the end of this trip, it may find itself in an institution. But as long as they keep changing the oil and the filter, they should be all right. It is great to have that kind of support and dedication, and I encourage you to follow them on Twitter (@mtlontheroad) and check out their blog on their website.
You will definitely want to look out for my next blog, when I will have a couple of announcements pertaining to baseball in Montreal. Stay tuned!