Romans react as RFA graduate elected commissioner of MLB

By WKTV News

Roman Rob Manfred has been elected major league baseball's 10th commissioner and will succeed Bud Selig in January. The city was abuzz Thursday night as the news broke.

The 55-year-old Rome Free Academy graduate, class of '76, must address issues that include decreased youth interest and the longer games.

We met up with Rome Mayor Joseph Fusco, who was ironically at a dinner to plan the 2016 class reunion for the class of '76.

Fusco says his phone has lit up all night with text messages.

Fusco says Manfred is a "really down to earth and family man who never forgot where he came from."

"I'm just glad the owners of major league baseball finally figured out what most of us in Rome have always known, that Robbie Manfred was meant for that job," Fusco said.

He says it sends a clear message to local youth.

"If you work hard, you can achieve your goals," Fusco said. "This was one of Robbie's dreams and goals and he made it there."

A labor lawyer who has worked for Major League Baseball since 1998, Manfred beat out Boston Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner on Thursday in the first contested vote for a new commissioner in 46 years.

He has served as MLB's chief operating officer for the past year.

Selig turned 80 last month and has ruled baseball since September 1992, when he was among the owners who forced Commissioner Fay Vincent's resignation. He said he intends to retire in January.

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