Things will be different one of these years, I imagine. It just won’t be this one.
The Royals fell to 3-12 by losing 5-3 to the Blue Jays on Sunday. Toronto got its fifth run on a double-steal with two outs in the top of the eighth. Here’s the video. Humberto Quintero opted to throw to second base with Brett Lawrie on third. Second baseman Yuniesky Betancourt came in a bit to cut the throw off, but he didn’t even come close to nailing the runner at home.
I’m not sure which of the duo deserves more blame. Quintero could have held on to the ball, but J.P. Arencibia would have been a dead duck had the throw gone through. The only question is whether he could have stayed in a rundown long enough for the run to score. Betancourt, for his part, committed too late to have a chance to cut down the speedy Lawrie. He needed to be more aggressive in trying to cut the ball off or in grabbing it and trying to chase down Arencibia.
Regardless, it was bad execution on the part of a team that’s famous for it. And it still wasn’t the ugliest play for the team today. That came a half-inning later, when Jason Bourgeois was picked off and caught stealing… in the bottom of the eighth with the Royals down three runs and the team’s No. 3 batter and hottest hitter (Billy Butler) at the plate.
I mean, duh.
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.