Earlier this week, ESPN’s Tim Koewn opened a story about ballpark dimensions by relaying an anecdote about a scuffle in the Padres’ clubhouse early last year.
Mike Adams, who now pitches for the Rangers, allegedly lashed out in a postgame rant, telling the team’s hitters to stop complaining about the dimensions at the pitcher-friendly PETCO Park. Ryan Ludwick and Chase Headley were among the targets of his comments, which resulted in some sort of ruckus.
Interesting story and I recommend reading Koewn’s piece, but Headley told Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune yesterday that the scuffle never took place.
“Ninety-eight percent of that article as it pertained to myself and the Padres was 100 percent wrong,” said Headley, who then gave his recollection of the meeting.
“We were playing bad. We had a closed-door meeting. At the end of his comments, Bud asked if anyone had anything to add. Mike (Adams) mentioned we needed to focus on winning and stop worrying about the ballpark.”
“My name and Ludwick’s name were never said by Mike. I never even spoke to Mike about what he said. It’s 100 percent false. It was a big surprise to me to read that. I was shocked and really disappointed. It (the story) made me look like a jerk.
Padres manager Bud Black also denied that a scuffle took place and Adams told Richard Durrett of ESPN.com that he didn’t direct his message at any one person. ESPN continues to stand by the report, which was recounted by multiple sources.
Regardless of whether the incident took place, it wouldn’t be surprising if Ludwick and Headley were frustrated at the time. Ludwick mentioned in February that “playing in San Diego screwed me up” while Headley owns a lowly .658 career OPS at PETCO Park compared to an .814 OPS on the road. We learned last month that the Padres are in the process of conducting a study whether to alter the dimensions of the stadium.
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.