Saturday, December 16, 2017
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
McCoy, David, Hargreaves all out Monday against Falcons

McCoy, David, Hargreaves all out Monday against Falcons

As if containing Julio Jones and the Falcons offense weren't challenging enough, the Bucs will try to so Monday night without perhaps their top two defensive players in DT Gerald McCoy and LB Lavonte David.Bucs coach Dirk Koetter on Saturday ruled bo...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Bucs’ Ward glad to be back, eager for rematch with brother Terron

Bucs’ Ward glad to be back, eager for rematch with brother Terron

Bucs safety T.J. Ward will make a healthy return Monday after missing two games with a concussion, and it's also a chance to face his brother Terron, a running back with the Falcons."Our whole family's going to be there, rooting us on," T.J. said aft...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Boys basketball: Lakewood 46, Gibbs 44

ST. PETERSBURG — Once the lights dimmed in the gymnasium and the capacity crowd dispersed, Lakewood coach Anthony Lawrence spotted Gibbs coach Larry Murphy strolling past the the bleachers."Hey, Murph. Do we have to do this every time?" Lawrenc...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Kitija Laksa’s 11 consecutive treys an NCAA record

Kitija Laksa’s 11 consecutive treys an NCAA record

Turns out, USF junior Kitija Laksa wasn't merely unconscious from behind the 3-point line Friday night, she was unprecedented.Laksa's 11 consecutive 3-pointers in the Bulls' 108-48 home romp of Southern University broke the NCAA's single-game record ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
College Football Bowls: Tampa Bay Times staff picks for Week 1

College Football Bowls: Tampa Bay Times staff picks for Week 1

College football bowl season gets underway Saturday with six games. Here's the Tampa Bay Times college football coverage team's picks for those and five other games the first week of bowl season. GameMartin Fennelly @mjfennellyTraci Johnson @TBH...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays’ trade silence likely a short-lived phenomenon

Rays’ trade silence likely a short-lived phenomenon

LAKE BUENA VISTA — There were a lot of reasons the Rays didn’t start the process of trading some of their bigger-name, higher-paid players at last week’s winter meetings.Most obvious was them not finding the just-right deal to move closer Alex Colome...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Jones: Tony Dungy didn’t leave the Bucs on the clearance rack

Jones: Tony Dungy didn’t leave the Bucs on the clearance rack

It is and always will be the greatest debate in Tampa Bay sports history.Jon Gruden or Tony Dungy?You don’t even need to say anything more than that. Bucs fans already know what you’re talking about.Gruden or Dungy?Who was most responsible for the on...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Jon Gruden or Tony Dungy? Why the debate rages on

Jon Gruden or Tony Dungy? Why the debate rages on

TAMPA — Bucs coach Jon Gruden did not win the Super Bowl with Tony Dungy’s team. Don’t believe me? Ask Dungy. "It wasn’t. They did a great job. They took it and tweaked it," Dungy said. "The same way I got a great (Colts) tea...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Q&A with Syracuse coach Benoit Groulx about the Lightning’s next generation

Q&A with Syracuse coach Benoit Groulx about the Lightning’s next generation

DENVER — There might be one team in hockey hotter than the Lightning.It is Tampa Bay’s AHL affiliate, Syracuse.The Crunch had won nine straight heading into Friday’s game against Providence. Why is this important? While the AHL is a developmental lea...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Boys basketball: Nature Coast 78, Central 29

Boys basketball: Nature Coast 78, Central 29

BROOKSVILLE – Once again supporting its place as the top program in Hernando County, Nature Coast maintained its undefeated record in a dominant win over rival Central.While the Bears were able to upset the Sharks to win the Class 6A, District ...
Updated: 10 hours ago