Mark Grudzielanek, Brett Gardner

Mark Grudzielanek retires

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Jon Paul Morosi reports that Mark Grudzielanek has announced his retirement.

Over the course of 15 seasons Grudzielanek hit .289/.332/.393 for six teams.  He finished with over 2000 hits and won the gold glove at 2B in 2006. Not a bad career. Not a bad career at all.  In my book that puts him in the Hall of Damn Solid Major Leaguers. I presume he’ll be enshrined wearing a Dodgers cap based on longevity, considering that longevity is the cardinal achievement of Damn Solid Major Leaguers.

But while Grudzielanek’s career may not justify Hall of Fame debates, the off-the-field implications for his retirement are tremendous. Sports page editors all over America cheer this decision, certainly. Especially those in Kansas City who, in 2006, were driven to the brink of suicide when they were forced to spell both “Grudzielanek” and “Mientkiewicz” every single night for six months straight.

Which leads to a bit of trivia: did you know that Ctrl-C, the copy-and-paste function, was invented by a reporter for the Montreal Gazette who was the first major league beat writer tasked with typing Grudzielanek’s name when he broke into the majors with the Expos in 1995?  It’s true!*

*May not be true.

Happy trails Mr. Grudzielanek.

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.