Baseball's leadership vacuum apparently expanded Wednesday when deputy commissioner Steve Greenberg resigned, effective in 90 days.
Greenberg, in a letter to Bud Selig, president of the Milwaukee Brewers and chairman of the major leagues' governing executive council, said he has been left out of the decision-making loop since the forced resignation of Commissioner Fay Vincent four months ago and that the job is no longer what he "bargained for," giving rise to frustration.
"Sadly, I have come to the conclusion that the job that so stimulated me and at which I worked so hard for three years no longer exists," Greenberg wrote.
"The deputy's job in its current configuration is not what I bargained for and is not something I would have given up my (Los Angeles) law practice and moved my wife and children across the country to take (when hired by Vincent in 1990)."
Although he was restricted to "running the office" and left out of preparation for the TV and labor negotiations, two areas of expertise, Greenberg wrote that he will leave without bitterness, but has "considerable sadness" for the shape baseball is in and "grave concern" for its future.
Reached in New York, Greenberg said his concern stemmed from the seemingly endless strife between management and labor and the "negative aura" it has created with the fans.
He refused to comment on the current restructuring of the commissioner's office and said he resigned strictly on the basis of his current situation and not how it might change through that restructuring or the hiring of a new commissioner, a position some owners thought Greenberg was capable of filling.
Selig, who has attempted to govern by committee since Vincent resigned Sept. 7, said in a statement that Greenberg had helped stabilize the office in the wake of Vincent's departure and deserved thanks for his contributions since 1990.
He also said no decision has been made on the future status of the deputy commissioner position, and, when reached in Milwaukee, added that Greenberg's announcement did not enlarge the leadership void because there is no void. "The internal parts of the game are running as before," Selig said.
Dodger President Peter O'Malley agreed, predicting that the recently appointed search committee, which has already contacted companies specializing in executive searches, will soon have a nominee for commissioner and he will probably come from outside the game.
O'Malley said he based that opinion on what he found within the industry during his participation in three recent searches at the commissioner and league level, meaning the most qualified executives are unwilling to give up their position to become a commissioner or league president, and no owner would sell his team to do so.
O'Malley added that he hoped that Greenberg would stay in the game. "There are several clubs for sale, and Steve would be the ideal man to head a new ownership group," O'Malley said.
Greenberg, son of the late Hall of Fame member, Hank Greenberg, said he has no plans except to remain in New York.
In his letter to Selig, Greenberg wrote:
"One owner suggested to me on several occasions last summer that I was too loyal to Fay. That struck me as a peculiar charge because I was brought up to believe that one can never be 'too loyal' to one's family, friends or teammates.
"But if excessive loyalty is, in fact, one of my 'faults,' then baseball owners should consider themselves fortunate because they, as the caretakers of the game I love, have been and continue to be the beneficiaries of that loyalty."