Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

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)

MLB strikes out— again— on managerial diversity 05/24/16 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 24, 2016 8:52pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Tribune News Service.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rowdies settle for draw at home

    Soccer

    ST. PETERSBURG — The good news for the Rowdies is that they still haven't lost a game at Al Lang Stadium since late April. The bad news is they had to settle for a 1-1 tie against Ottawa on Saturday night in front of 6,710 sweaty fans.

  2. Bats come to life, but Rays' freefall continues (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG —The six runs seemed like a ton, just the second time the Rays had scored that many in a game during their numbing two-plus-weeks stretch of offensive impotency, and amazingly, the first time at the Trop in nearly two months.

    Lucas Duda connects for a two-run home run in the sixth, getting the Rays within 7-5. A Logan Morrison home run in the ninth made it 7-6, but Tampa Bay couldn’t complete the comeback.
  3. Rays journal: Cesar Puello, who has one major-league game, claimed off waivers

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Looking to add punch to their right-handed lineup, the Rays claimed OF Cesar Puello off waivers Saturday from the Angels.

  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Mariners game

    The Heater

    SS Adeiny Hechavarria doesn't always look like he's going hard, but he showed impressive reactions Saturday in reversing field to catch a ball that clanked off the catwalk then firing to second to double up Guillermo Heredia on an attempt to tag up.

  5. Bucs journal: Simeon Rice gives master class on sacks to defensive ends

    Bucs

    TAMPA — As the Bucs seek their first 10-sack season from a player since Simeon Rice in 2005, who better to help that cause than Rice himself?

    Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers great Simeon Rice works with defensive end Noah Spence (57) after practice at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017.