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Baseball’s next commissioner lays out priorities

Rob Manfred doesn't take the helm of Major League Baseball until January, but he's already setting his priorities for his term as the sport's 10th commissioner.

"I think a big focus for me is going to be increasing youth participation in the game," he said Monday from Harlem RBI's inaugural Celebrity Golf Classic at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, New Jersey.

On CNBC's "Halftime Report," Manfred, who is currently MLB's chief operating officer, said that he would seek to lure a broad new generation of young enthusiasts to the game.

"I think it's crucial for the sport being healthy in terms of its fan base, and we want to have programs like Harlem RBI that make baseball available to all kids, rich, poor, black, white and, you know, let's not forget, male, female—softball, a really crucial part of the equation," he said. "So, this is a great forum for me."

Harlem RBI is a New York-based nonprofit organization that helps teach inner-city youth leadership and teamwork through baseball.

Manfred was also asked about whether he would address the length of baseball games.

Over the weekend, game 2 of the National League Division Series between the San Francisco Giants and Washington Nationals lasted 18 innings over six hours.

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Manfred said that outgoing MLB Commissioner Bud Selig had created a panel to look at the issue.

"We're taking a hard look at the pace of the game," he said. "I think there's parts of the game that can be tightened up. I think the other piece of the puzzle for us is to make sure that during our broadcasts we keep the fans engaged as possible, and I think it's important that we make maximum use of our technology and media assets to do that, MLB.com being primary among them."