Friday, July 20, 2018
Sports

MLB strikes out— again— on managerial diversity

And so the last Latino manager in Major League Baseball has said hasta la vista.

And why should we care?

I don't mean to be flip. But I assume that is the first-blush reaction from many passers-by, not overly concerned that Fredi Gonzalez was fired as manager of the Atlanta Braves last week.

That brings the count down to zero Latino managers in a sport where more than a quarter of the players are of Spanish-speaking origin.

That is unacceptable.

This isn't about affirmative action, obsession with diversity or a Hispanic columnist going on a rant protecting his own. It's about common-sense business practices, respecting the workplace and letting people know that we're not living in 1962 anymore.

The fact that more than one in four players have Spanish-speaking roots dovetails into a significant factor: The sport is now global. That is the arc of every sport in this country — witness the NBA's outreach to China and other parts of the world, and the NFL having a spot of tea to celebrate football games across the pond.

But there's this too: Communication.

A key to any business, is it not?

And while many Latino players have become fluent in English, there are a bunch who aren't.

And if a manager is having a conversation with a pitcher on the mound, he might want to know the difference between first base and second base, or ball and strike, in Spanish.

You might want to connect the dots to the fact that a key subset of successful managers over the years — including Tony La Russa, Lou Piniella and Joe Maddon — can speak Spanish.

"If you can't talk on a personal level with them, you take the risk of losing one thing you could fix if you speak his language," La Russa once said, addressing the issue.

Exactly.

You connect on a personal level. You forge stronger relationships. You gain respect. Your player has a great chance of succeeding. So do you. So does your team. Win-win-win.

Unfortunately, we're looking at lose-lose-lose here.

And, unfortunately again, we have not come very far from my reference point of 1962 when Alvin Dark, then managing the San Francisco Giants, told several Latin American players that they could not speak Spanish to each other in the clubhouse.

Now, 54 years later, MLB does has a window-dressing deal called "The Selig Rule," which mandates each club to "consider" minorities for executive positions and managerial and director openings.

After Rodriguez's firing, the minority-manager scorecard reads two (Dusty Baker and Dave Roberts). P.S.: Baker speaks fluent Spanish.

There are plenty of managerial candidates out there. Check out the resumes of guys like Sandy Alomar Jr., Dave Martinez, Jose Oquendo, Alex Cora, Eduardo Perez and Joey Cora.

Gonzalez — a good man and a Cuban native I knew from his days at Southridge High School in Dade County — got whacked in a bush-league way. Gonzalez found out he was fired because Delta sent him a text that he was booked on a flight back to Atlanta in the middle of a road trip.

Gonzalez deserved better. But so do fans, players and everyone else connected with the MLB brand.

The game has gone global. Meanwhile, baseball's top executives seem stuck in a time warp, doing business like it's 1962.

Unacceptable.

— Orlando Sentinel (TNS)

Comments
Seminole’s Brittany Lincicome shoots 78 in PGA Tour debut

Seminole’s Brittany Lincicome shoots 78 in PGA Tour debut

Seminole's Brittany Lincicome survived her first round on the PGA Tour at the Barbasol Championship in Nicholasville, Ky., on Thursday, and she can't wait to do it again Friday.Though Lincicome shot 6-over 78 and will likely miss the cut — she ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Longtime Tampa Catholic athletic director Nick DiMaggio dies

Longtime Tampa Catholic athletic director Nick DiMaggio dies

Nick DiMaggio, the longtime athletic director at Tampa Catholic who was a fixture at the school's sporting events for more than 50 years, died Wednesday (July 18, 2018) from complications related to a stroke. He was 86."Nick was an icon, a walking en...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Marc Topkin: Rays should trade Chris Archer

Marc Topkin: Rays should trade Chris Archer

ST. PETERSBURG — Chris Archer wants the Rays to get going.Trade more veterans. Bring back Willy Adames and bring up the next group of kids. Get on with getting better, and get back to reaching the postseason, as they did four times over six yea...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Sports on TV/radio for Friday, July 20

TODAYAction sportsX Games9 p.m.ESPNArena FootballPhiladelphia at Baltimore7 p.m.CBSSNAutosMonster Energy Cup: Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 qualifying4:30 p.m.NBCSNBaseballCardinals at Cubs2 p.m.MLBMarlins at Rays7 p.m.Fox Sun, FSF; 620-AMMets at Yankee...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Florida State defensive forecast not that simple

Florida State defensive forecast not that simple

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — His debut at the ACC kickoff attracted a wholly unsurprising assortment of topics. New FSU coach Willie Taggart was asked about his culture, his quarterbacks, his catch phrases.He handled each question deftly, hardly devi...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Rays journal: Catcher needed with Wilson Ramos on DL

Rays journal: Catcher needed with Wilson Ramos on DL

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays did not have any answers Thursday about the state of their catching situation as to how long Wilson Ramos will be out and who will be added to replace him Friday against the Marlins.Ramos was placed on the DL Wednesday...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Quarterback rankings: The best seasons in Buccaneers history

Quarterback rankings: The best seasons in Buccaneers history

It was Dec. 20, 1981, the final Sunday of the NFL regular season, and the NFC Central title was on the line. The Buccaneers were in Detroit, where the Lions hadn’t lost all season.The Lions, who were favored by a touchdown, took a 7-3 lead in t...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Judge grants ex-girlfriend’s restraining order against ex-Plant QB Robert Marve

Judge grants ex-girlfriend’s restraining order against ex-Plant QB Robert Marve

PLANT CITY — Robert Marve hesitated to get out of his attorney’s car when they pulled into the parking lot of the Plant City Courthouse on Thursday afternoon. The former Plant High and University of Miami quarterback was there to plead no contest to ...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Willie Taggart: Francois’ offseason problems are ‘behind us’

Willie Taggart: Francois’ offseason problems are ‘behind us’

FSU coach Willie Taggart indicated Thursday the tumultuous offseason of QB Deondre Francois won't factor in to his quest for the starting job when preseason camp commences next month."He's handled his consequences behind that, and he's moved on," Tag...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Dolphins anthem punishment includes suspensions

Dolphins anthem punishment includes suspensions

Miami Dolphins players who protest on the field during the national anthem could be suspended for up to four games under a team policy issued this week.The "Proper Anthem Conduct" section is just one sentence in a nine-page discipline document provid...
Updated: 10 hours ago