Craig Finn of The Hold Steady is a big Twins fans. BIG fan. Wears Twins jerseys on stage, writes songs about them and everything. And he loves going to the park. Once upon a time they used to play cool music at Twins games too, but no longer, he tells CBS Sports.com’s Eye on Baseball:
EOB: I’m assuming you’ve been at a Twins game at least, where they’ve played one of your songs, but what was it like the first time you heard your own song at a baseball game?
CF: It was at the Metrodome. The music guy there got in touch with me and knew I was going to be at the game and he played eight Hold Steady songs during the Twins game. And the other music he played was Bruce Springsteen and the Replacements. So I felt like I was being serenaded by my own mix, so it was pretty amazing. I feel like my relationship with Minneapolis is strong. I sing about it a lot and we get good crowds there. There are times where I always feel like I’m really accepted by the city and that was one of them. I’ve heard (the Hold Steady) once in Target Field. Unfortunately they let that guy go and they used to have amazing music at the dome, they’d play smart music, stuff you don’t always hear at the ballpark. I was disappointed they let him go and they got some sort of Top 40 DJ, playing Lady Gaga.
EOB: That’s terrible when you have a place like Minneapolis that’s so rich in music history.
CF: You want the park to be connected to the city both architecturally and vibe-wise. I thought when I’d go to a game and hear the Replacements, this is what makes our city different. That we really understand what we have musically and honor that. I thought that was unfortunate that it’s gone away. But whatever.
It does stink. Baseball is so very local. Any park in a city with any kind of local musical or artistic heritage should play that up as much as possible. Too bad the guys in Minnesota don’t feel that way.
Read the rest of the interview, by the way. All kinds of stuff about baseball. Which makes me like Craig Finn a lot.
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.