In case you weren’t around yesterday Marlins owner Jeff Loria published a full page “Letter to our fans” in the Miami papers, purporting to explain the Marlins’ controversial and exceedingly unpopular moves since last year. The full text of it can be seen at our post on it yesterday.
I just got a chance to read it and noticed something. Despite saying “the buck stops with me” and “I take my share of the blame where it’s due,” he is pretty clear in his letter that the buck hasn’t gotten to him yet and that any blame to him is not due. Indeed, Loria believes that he is in no way to blame for the state of the Marlins and the fans’ unhappiness with the franchise.
Here is a list of the people Loria believes to be responsible for where things currently stand, in order as they are mentioned in the letter:
- Anyone who does not believe the trade with the Blue Jays was a good idea because it was “universally celebrated by baseball experts outside of Miami for its value.”
- Every member of last year’s roster, all of which Loria says “underperformed as compared to their career numbers.”
- “naysayers who are currently skeptical”
- People who are “reporting negatively” and making “negative accusations” on the ballpark and its funding.
- “Those who have attacked us.”
- People who are “attacking the County’s method of financing” for the ballpark;
- “columnists” who have “decried” the trade;
- “We” meaning the team, for not communicating well with the fans. This is a superficial stab at responsibility, but the tone and placement of it is clearly that of a person who thinks they’re always right saying “I guess I’m not being clear, because you still don’t understand that I am right.” If Loria did want to take responsibility for the poor communication he would mention the fact that he has given no interviews and made no statements at all since last season ended and until this letter was published. He has also apparently forbidden team officials from talking to the media too. Yes, Jeff, “we” could do better with communication.
- He would, however, like to remind us that he helped bring the 2003 World Series championship to Miami. I guess when the team plays poorly it’s on the roster, when they don’t it’s on him.
Give Loria this much credit: he’s honest. He does not believe he is in anyway responsible for what’s happened to this team, so he will not pretend to be responsible or sorry for it. I suppose in some strange, awful world there is something noble to that. Problem is, no one besides him believes it, so I don’t think the letter is going to do a thing for him or the team.
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.