I may or may not have written about The Baseball Project before. It’s a supergroup of sorts led by R.E.M.’s Peter Buck, which only performs songs that are baseball related. Last night they played in Austin, and this blog post about it in Rolling Stone pretty much hits the nail on the head. On the bald, old, pasty head:
The audience seeing the Baseball Project on 5th Street in Austin midnight Wednesday definitely included a significant quotient of balding older white men up past their bedtimes. Whether this is because they were aging fans of R.E.M. and Dream Syndicate (whose Peter Buck and Steve Wynn form the band’s core), aging fans of baseball (the sport that provides all of the band’s subject matter), or just plain Nuvola regulars (perhaps ones sticking around after seeing three earlier bands from Spain), was not entirely clear. But it was appropriate, given that this is as much a band about past glories as about the national pasttime, per se …
That kind of hurts. Hurts almost as much as my wife coming home from Starbucks yesterday after being given a free iTunes download of the latest R.E.M. song. She put it down on my desk and said “here’s a free song from that old lame-ass band you like.” I had better not tell her about the existence of The Baseball Project.
Oh well, beats The Football Project. They’re on hiatus right now and who knows when they’ll be back?
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.
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.