This just came in:
Building off the social media success of the 2011 State Farm Home Run Derby – at which MLB players interacted with fans via Twitter and Facebook live from the field during an MLB event for the first time – Major League Baseball, MLB Advanced Media and the Major League Baseball Players Association today announced an expansion of the initiative that will for the first time include social media activity during the All-Star Game itself.
This time it counts, y’all!
I appreciate that this is not going to truly become a circus because, per the press release, players will only be allowed to update their Twitter feeds and stuff after they are out of the game. So, while I joked about it on Twitter and expect a million hack columnists to take gratuitous swipes at social media in general, it’s not like someone is going to strike out because they were uploading pics to Facebook or something.
But this still galls me. Because it is yet another example of baseball wanting to use the All-Star Game as a big marketing showcase and general free-for-all while still having the game determine the truly important matter of who gets home field advantage in the World Series. In a real game, a player would get fined and ostracized if he was caught tweeting during a game, even if he was on the bench. Here? Have it, fellas.
Major League Baseball: either admit that the All-Star Game is nothing but a fun and meaningless exhibition and take the home field advantage aspects of it away or else treat it like a real friggin’ baseball game, both in terms of roster selection and game play experience. Because trying to make it both is a terrible idea.
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.