Jake Westbrook

Westbrook, Pujols lead the Cards past the Mets

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I don’t write too many straight game recaps outside of And That Happened, but this one — a 6-2 win by the Cards over the Mets — struck me for a couple of reasons.

First, because it may very well have been Carlos Beltran’s last game as a Met in Citi Field. The Mets go on the road now, and won’t be back until August first, which is after the trade deadline. Beltran got a warm reception from the New York crowd, most of whom later denied spending the last several years blaming him for all of the team’s problems. That was nice of them.

Also notable was just how quick a game it was. It lasted only two hours and seven minutes. Which, given its 12:10 start time, had it ending before I really realized it had begun.  This must be what it feels like to live on the west coast.

The speed of this one had a lot to do with Jake Westbrook, who allowed only two runs on four hits over eight innings, getting 17 outs on grounders.  An Albert Pujols two-run homer in the first set the offensive tone, and the Cards never trailed.

Next up: the Cards go face the frisky Pirates. My guess: Pittsburgh starts to get exposed this weekend. For the Mets: trading deadline or bust.

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.