BALTIMORE - Major League Baseball intends to name a new commissioner Thursday. Or not.
The three finalists trying to become the successor to Bud Selig each made their pitch Wednesday to the sport's 30 owners in separate presentations that lasted nearly four hours.
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By the end, there was cautious optimism that one of those three -- Red Sox chairman Tom Werner, MLB chief operating officer Rob Manfred or MLB executive vice president of business Tim Brosnan -- would get the necessary 23 votes to decide a winner.
"I assume so," said Giants president and CEO Larry Baer. "Why not? That's what we're here for."
Selig is hopeful the next commissioner will be named Thursday, the final day of the quarterly owners meetings, but has made no promises. Manfred, the favorite to succeed Selig, has opposition among some hard-line owners who believe he's become too cozy with the Players Association after successfully negotiating three collective bargaining agreements.
"All three of them are very, very good candidates," said Yankees' general managing partner Hal Steinbrenner, who reportedly favors Manfred. "And all three of them did a great job in there, expressing their thoughts about the future and what they can bring to the game."
The search committee, headed by Cardinals principal owner and CEO Bill DeWitt Jr., whittled the list down to these final three. If a decision is unable to be reached Thursday, however, that could force MLB to submit another round of new candidates with the next vote possibly scheduled for the November meetings. After Wednesday's session, no one sounded ready to guarantee a Selig replacement would be named.
"I can't tell you that," said Angels owner Arte Moreno. "I'm one of 30 voters. I think it's been a very fair process and very educational. I've learned a lot."