Alex Rodriguez AP

Daily News I-Team is all over A-Rod’s bad decisions from a year ago; mum on MLB’s.

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Take this Daily News story for what it’s worth: old news which has been mooted by months of more recent events. But if you’re into the sordid backstory of A-Rod’s fight with Major League Baseball, the award-winning Daily News I-Team would like you to know that A-Rod was going to quit last summer — retire from baseball and not fight MLB’s discipline — but he was convinced not to by Desiree Perez, a woman with a hefty criminal record that, somehow, has close ties to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Sports.

For what it’s worth, a source with knowledge of the Biogenesis investigation suggested to me last year that, at some point, Perez did have A-Rod’s ear and was somewhat troublingly influential in A-Rod’s decision making process, so there is probably not a ton of reason to doubt the veracity of this report. It goes along with a long line of stories over the years where Rodriguez responded positively to someone telling him he should act aggressively in some way, shape or form, be it legally or with business matters or what have you. He’s not exactly a mastermind. He’s easily influenced, it would appear. Not shocking.

That notwithstanding, the Daily News coming out with this today is rather hilarious given that (a) A-Rod’s decision making from last year has long been mooted given his decision to drop his legal case against MLB, accept his suspension and move on. Indeed, just this past week we heard that A-Rod is living a relatively quiet life of paying attention to his business and keeping in shape in an effort to come back next year. Even his ex-wife had wonderful things to say regarding the way in which A-Rod was going about his business as of late. We don’t hear much from the Daily News about that.

We also haven’t heard a peep from the Daily News about the story which emerged a week ago in which Major League Baseball was said by the Boca Raton police department to have knowingly purchased stolen documents during its investigation. I guess bad stuff that MLB did last year in an effort to get A-Rod is old, irrelevant news. Bad advice A-Rod took last year in an effort to fight MLB, however, deserves this sensationalist treatment.

Great job, I-Team! Way to stay on top of everything in a comprehensive and totally non-selective fashion!

Murray Chass rightfully nails Major League Baseball on minority hiring

Rob Manfred
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When Murray Chass lays off his vendettas against the people he feels have wronged him, he’s still capable of making some sharp points. Particularly when he’s working in his old bailiwick of the business of baseball.

On Sunday he wrote a blog post about minority hiring in baseball. As in, the nearly complete lack of it, at least in front offices:

Manfred has talked a better job on minority hiring than he has performed. He has created a pipeline program through which members of minorities are supposed to be able to advance into major league front office positions. However, no role models seem to exist as inspiration for younger employees.

In Manfred’s 20 months as commissioner, clubs have hired or promoted 19 high-ranking executives. Eighteen of the 19 are white males. The lone minority is Al Avila, the Tigers’ general manager.

Chass reports that Rob Manfred and, in the past, Bud Selig have leaned on clubs to hire friends or trusted lieutenants but claim they have no power to tell clubs who to hire when it comes to minorities. It’s pretty dang good point.

Moving beyond Chass’ points, it’s worth observing that one way baseball could better populate the executive ranks would be to hire more minorities in entry-level positions. What a better way to become a friend and crony than to have, you know, been there a long time? The game has had a horrible track record in doing this, however, for one simple reason: it pays crap wages for all but the highest of executive positions, pushing away candidates for whom money is, in fact, an object to pursuing a dream in baseball which, by demographic necessity, favors the rich and thus favors whites. Earlier this year MLB launched a pipeline program aimed at getting more minority candidates into entry level MLB jobs. That’s a good start to addressing the problem, but it’s going to take years for that to bear fruit, assuming it ever does.

Back in June Kate Morrison and Russell A. Carleton of Baseball Prospectus wrote a four-part series regarding this very issue, and it’s well worth your time. Among the points made is one that, given his vendettas, Chass surprisingly didn’t make himself: sabermetrics is partially to blame! Go read Kate and Russell’s work on that, but the short version: front offices want MBA/STEM types now, not people with athletic backgrounds. People with those degrees have expensive educations and, in turn, cannot afford to take pennies to work in baseball when they can make far more in other industries, thereby continuing to favor the rich and the white.

I don’t think Rob Manfred or Bud Selig before him or the people who run major league baseball teams are bigots. I don’t think that baseball, as a whole, wants to keep minorities out of top jobs. Chass doesn’t make such a claim either and he, like I, noted the pipeline program.

But baseball is a business rife with cronyism and nepotism which leads those in power to hire friends and relatives, thereby keeping the executive class overwhelmingly male and white. Baseball has shown that, when it wants to, it can lean on teams to make certain hiring choices. Will it do the same to push for greater minority representation in management ranks? Or will it continue to throw up its hands up and say “hey, that’s on the clubs?”

Tim Tebow hits a homer in his first instructional league at bat

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL - SEPTEMBER 20: Tim Tebow #15 of the New York Mets hits a home run at an instructional league day at Tradition Field on September 20, 2016 in Port St. Lucie, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
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Because of course he did.

It wasn’t just his first at bat, but it was his first pitch. It came off of John Kilichowski, an 11th round draft pick of the St. Louis Cardinals out of Vanderbilt.  The ball went out to left center, off the bat of the lefty Tebow.

Next time, meat, throw him a breaking ball.