After several months of deliberating over his future, Minor League Baseball president Pat O’Conner decided to run for a second four-year term in office. He notified the National Association board of trustees of his decision on May 24, one week before the required deadline.
O’Conner joined Minor League Baseball 19 years ago and spent 12 years as former president Mike Moore’s right-hand man before replacing him in December 2007. He had previously expressed concerns about serving a second term due to differing philosophies with the board of trustees on the direction of the sport.
O'Conner has worked to build the sport's national brand, leading the industry on several endeavors that go beyond teams' individual markets. And while many members of the board previously praised O'Conner's work—which includes extending the Professional Baseball Agreement with Major League Baseball, the launch of the Baseball Internet Rights Co., and overseeing the sport's growth during the recession—they also expressed doubts about some of his big ideas.
In particular, concerns were raised about Minor League Baseball's operation and conversion of the Dodgers' former spring training home in Vero Beach, Fla., into a destination sports complex for tournaments and training. O'Conner admits that the Vero Beach Sports Village has lost money in its first two years, but believes it is important to the sport's growth.
“There are some issues and differences of opinion, but I don’t see them as so great or so intense that there would be obstacles,” O’Conner said when explaining his decision to run. “I think it is good to have different views. I’ve never looked for a rubber stamp, so I feel it is a board (of trustees) That I can work with.”
O'Conner spends roughly 200 days a year traveling to various minor league outposts, and he said committing to another four years of such a rigorous schedule factored into his decision.
"It's a good job. If you're going to have to work (president of Minor League Baseball) is not a bad job at all," O'Conner said. "I think I still have the energy and the desire. You've got to want to do this. Finally, I came to the conclusion that I do."
The election process is not a traditional one. The board of trustees will form a presidential search committee that will present to the board a group of candidates, including O’Conner. If one candidate receives at least 75 percent of the vote, he’ll be presented as the lone candidate to the general body at December’s Winter Meetings in Dallas. If the vote is split, then the election will be open to each candidate.