Major League Baseball issued a press release a little while ago regarding this year’s edition of the Civil Rights Game. The game itself will be May 15th. All of the relevant details are here. Kudos to baseball for not merely putting a couple of teams in Negro Leagues throwbacks, playing the game and calling it a day. Indeed, the Civil Rights Game is surrounded by more stuff than the All-Star Game usually is, albeit in a lower key way. Among them:
- A job fair aimed at minorities looking to land positions with MLB suppliers;
- A tribute to Hank Aaron, involving a red carpet event and screening of the Aaron documentary “Hank Aaron:Chasing the Dream”;
- A roundtable discussion about baseball and the civil rights movement, held at Ebenezer Baptist Church;
- A youth game/clinic attended by players;
- An awards banquet; and
- The actual game in which the Braves will destroy the Philadelphia Phillies
Good for Major League Baseball for making this an actual substantive event when it would be so easy to merely pander to the idea of civil rights, as is so often the case in the business world. Baseball’s history with civil rights is just as spotty as any other American institution’s, but it tends to really get this sort of thing right.
The Yankees interviewed Aaron Boone for their managerial vacancy on Friday, and today it was Chris Woodward’s turn. That makes at least five interviews since the offseason began, and Woodward’s likely won’t be the last.
Like fellow candidate Eric Wedge, whom the Yankees interviewed just last week, Woodward has never played or coached for the club. He spent the majority of his 12-year career with the Blue Jays and picked up brief stints with the Mets, Braves, Mariners and Red Sox before returning to Toronto for his final season in 2011. Following retirement, he served as the Mariners’ minor league infield coordinator and infield and first base coach from 2012-2015. During the 2015 offseason, he jumped over to the National League to work with the Dodgers as a third base coach, and saw his first postseason run since the Mets lost to the Dodgers in the 2006 NLDS.
While Woodward has yet to manage at the major league level, he was named manager of the New Zealand national team during the 2017 World Baseball Classic qualifiers. It’s certainly conceivable that the Yankees would prefer a candidate with significant experience leading a major league team, but right now the only person who fits that bill is Eric Wedge — and, well, it’s Eric Wedge.