Bud Selig talks about Arizona . . . kinda

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Arizona outline.jpgToday Bud Selig spoke for the first time about his thoughts on the new Arizona immigration law and the calls for baseball to move the 2011 All-Star Game from Chase Field. His response: Baseball hires a lot of minorities. Really, that was his answer:

Asked about such demands at a news conference Thursday following an
owners meeting, he responded with a defense of baseball’s minority
hiring record.

“Apparently all the people around and in minority
communities think we’re doing OK. That’s the issue, and that’s the
answer,” he said. “I told the clubs today: ‘Be proud of what we’ve
done.’ They are. We should. And that’s our answer. We control our own
fate, and we’ve done very well.”

Which is great and everything, but it does nothing to address the fact that the players’ union, several individual players and at least one manager — Ozzie Guillen — have said that they won’t participate in the All-Star Game if it takes place in Arizona.  You’d think that would be something he’d want to comment on, if for no other reason than to say such talk is premature. Instead we get this:

“We’re a social institution. We have done
everything we should do – should do, our responsibility,” he said.
“Privilege to do it. Don’t want any pats on the back, and we’ll continue
to do it.”

Again, he’s talking about baseball’s hiring record. Which has absolutely nothing to do with this unless you think that all issues that touch on race or ethnicity fall into the same bucket.  Great job with the hiring Bud, we’re all proud of you. But what do you think about your players and your union threatening a wildcat strike?

Like I said yesterday, I’m rather agnostic about the location of the All-Star Game in light of this controversy. I have my issues with the law, but I think that it’s a bit premature, and possibly counterproductive, for baseball to make any grand gesture like moving the game.

But I think that Bud should at least say that much. The response he gave — we’re very good to the brown people in general,
so we are immune from this controversy — is beside the point at best and condescending at worst, and will do nothing to address the concerns of baseball’s constituencies.

Giants sign catcher Nick Hundley

DENVER, CO - JUNE 07:  Nick Hundley #4 of the Colorado Rockies takes an at bat against the Miami Marlins at Coors Field on June 7, 2015 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Getty Images
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Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News reports that the Giants have signed catcher Nick Hundley. It’s a major league deal worth $2 million.

Hundley, who is 33, but who seems like he’s been in the bigs for about 27 years, hit .260/.320/.439 with 10 homers in 83 games for the Rockies last season. Obviously he will be the backup given the presence of Buster Posey.

MLB reorganizes its diversity and social responsibility leadership structure

Billy Bean
Associated Press
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Major League Baseball has experienced inconsistent progress in its efforts at promoting diversity and social responsibility in recent years despite making it a league priority.  Today it has announced several changes in its leadership structure in these areas, with Commissioner Manfred saying, “As the sport of Jackie Robinson and Roberto Clemente, we have a responsibility to uphold and honor their legacies, especially in ensuring that our sport and business practices are as inclusive, diverse and socially-conscious as possible.”

To that end:

  • Billy Bean has been promoted to Vice President and Special Assistant to the Commissioner. This is a newly-created and elevated position in which Bean will continue his efforts at promoting human rights issues important to Major League Baseball, with a particular focus on LGBT and anti-bullying efforts. He has done such work since 2014 as its Ambassador for Inclusion, but putting him at the vice presidential level and having him answer directly to Commissioner Manfred increases his profile and that of his mission;
  • Renée Tirado, has been promoted to Vice President of Talent Acquisition and Diversity & Inclusion. Tirado had previously served as Senior Director of Recruitment. She will direct the implementation of recruitment plans and procedures to support MLB’s staffing objectives and will oversee MLB’s Diversity Pipeline Program. As you may recall, Major League Baseball has struggled mightily in these effort in recent years, and has admitted as much; and
  • Melanie LeGrande has been promoted to Vice President of Social Responsibility. She previously served as MLB’s Director of Community Affairs. Her job will be to develop and enhance the initiatives that support MLB’s position in the community and oversee MLB’s community investments, nonprofit/non-governmental organization partnerships, large-scale disaster relief efforts and employee volunteer engagement.

Manfred said, “the promotions of Billy, Renée and Melanie reflect our commitment to have strong, innovative leadership in place that aligns our industry objectives with a desire to be effective corporate citizens.”

While all of these are current employees who have served in roughly similar roles. A business’ organizational chart says much about how much that business values various functions and initiatives. In keeping with Manfred’s comments, that all three of these people have been promoted to the vice presidential level is a strong signal from MLB about what it wants.

Now all it has to do is follow through and get what it wants.