The putative new boss of the players’ union seems like a very different guy than the departing old boss:
Every week, [Michael] Weiner and his trademark blue jeans stride down to his basement classroom and teach Sunday school to one of the few congregations less orderly than major league baseball owners . . . An anchor role in baseball’s often nasty pastime-or-business identity crisis will almost certainly test Weiner’s reputation for being a stunningly regular guy. He wears blue jeans and Chuck Taylor All-Stars to all but the most solemn of affairs. He is the son of a New Jersey construction worker. He suspects that the last time he combed his unruly and increasingly occasional hair was before his sister’s 1998 wedding.
But just as Weiner’s contemporaries smile at his quirks, they emphasize that he also may be the smartest person they have ever known. It is this duality that makes Weiner, the union’s general counsel, so popular among the players he represents and the management side he negotiates with; whether it resonates with fans will be learned after he is elected and has to call a news conference someday, perhaps to deliver bad news — up to and including a strike.
Don Fehr simply didn’t do laid back and amiable and his longtime second in command, Gene Orza, actually made Fehr look relaxed by comparison. According to this article and other accounts I’ve heard, Weiner is far more of a consensus-builder and reasonable negotiator than was Fehr, so things could look very different in 2011 when the current CBA is up for renegotiation.
Or not. Maybe Weiner’s thing was to play good cop to Fehr and Orza’s bad cop, and now that they’re leaving, he’ll need to break out the billy club and brass knuckles. One never knows with these things. There can be no question, however, that if Weiner does one day have to deliver bad news to the public about a work stoppage that he’ll be somewhat better accepted than the often prickly Fehr, and that’s at least some kind of progress.