After more than 20 years writing about baseball for major media outlets, Rob Neyer is trying something new.
On Tuesday, the West Coast League, a summer wood-bat circuit for college players, announced it had named the Portland-based Neyer as its commissioner.
“We are thrilled to have Rob Neyer represent the West Coast League and act as our league’s commissioner,” West Coast League president Tony Bonacci said in a release. “His knowledge of the game and passion for what we are doing, not to mention his contacts in baseball, should help us elevate the league to new heights.”
Said Neyer: “I’m a passionate, longtime fan of baseball history generally, and Pacific Northwest baseball specifically. So it’s difficult for me to imagine a more exciting opportunity, and I’m honored to be associated with such a fine organization. This summer, as I connect with the owners and visit all the beautiful ballparks, I’ll do everything I can to help this great league become even greater.”
Per the West Coast League’s website, Neyer’s role as commissioner will be to “arbitrate and regulate during the season; to further connect the league and its teams with the baseball community, its markets and those that follow the game; and to act as a league ambassador.”
Neyer has been a prominent figure in baseball’s statistical analysis community since the 1980s, when he worked for Bill James and STATS, Inc. He joined ESPN in 1996 and lasted 15 years there before leaving to become national baseball editor of SB Nation. He then moved on to Fox, where he was editor-in-chief of the short-lived (but worthwhile) baseball vertical Just a Bit Outside. Since that site shuttered in December 2015, Neyer has picked up freelance work while writing his seventh book — “Power Ball: Anatomy of a Modern Baseball Game” — which will be published in October.
It’s unclear whether Neyer will continue to write while serving as West Coast League commissioner or whether the new role will consume all his time. Neyer is one of the most important baseball voices of the past 20 years and has continued to produceinterestingstuff over the past few years, so we hope he doesn’t hang up his keyboard altogether.