NEW YORK (AP) — Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred’s term was extended until 2029 on Wednesday by major league owners.
The decision to give Manfred a third term in charge of the sport was made during a vote at an in-person meeting in Washington, D.C. The extension keeps Manfred in place until Jan. 25, 2029.
Manfred, 64, succeeded Bud Selig in January 2015 and was given a five-year term. Owners voted in November 2018 to offer Manfred a new deal through the 2024 season.
Manfred has overseen a period of on-field change for the sport, including instituting a pitch clock and limits on defensive shifts this season. Game times have dropped by about a half-hour and offense by left-handed batters has increased.
He presided over the deal with players that led to pandemic-shortened 60-game schedule in 2020, the institution of automatic runners at second base in extra-inning games that began that year and a 99-day lockout last year that ended with a five-year labor contract that runs through the 2026 season.
The collective bargaining agreement also expanded use of the designated hitter to the National League.
“It is an honor to serve the best game in the world and to continue the pursuit of strengthening our sport on and off the field,” Manfred said in a statement. “This season our players are displaying the most vibrant version of our game, and sports fans are responding in a manner that is great for Major League Baseball’s future. Together, all of us in the game will work toward presenting our sport at its finest and broadening its reach and impact for our loyal fans.”
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Manfred has been criticized by some for granting players immunity in the Houston Astros’ cheating scandal — the team and management were penalized — and for allowing the Oakland Athletics to pursue a move to Las Vegas. His relationship with players has frequently been icy, and he said after last year’s lockout that he wanted to do better in that regard.
“At a critical moment in the history of our game, Commissioner Manfred has listened to our fans and worked closely with our players to improve America’s pastime,” Seattle Mariners chairman John Stanton said in a statement. “Under his leadership, we have been responsive to the fans’ desire for more action and better pace, continued the game’s spirit of innovation, expanded MLB’s role in youth baseball and softball, and beyond. The significant momentum that MLB has built reflects his ongoing initiatives that are advancing the game.”
A graduate of the Cornell School of Industrial and Labor Relations and Harvard Law School, Manfred became involved in baseball in 1987, when he was an associate at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius and the firm was retained as MLB labor counsel.
He became MLB’s executive vice president for labor relations and human resources in 1998, received an expanded role of EVP of economics and league affairs in 2012 and a year later was promoted to chief operating officer.
Manfred defeated Boston Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner in August 2014 in the first contested vote for a new commissioner in 46 years. A third candidate, MLB Executive Vice President of Business Tim Brosnan, withdrew just before balloting.
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