There are a lot of people upset about neither Fox nor Major League Baseball doing anything during the All-Star Game last night to honor Tony Gwynn. For what it’s worth, Fox is saying that they did too honor him. In the form of a video that, apparently, aired during pregame programming on Fox Sports 1:
I say “apparently,” because I’ve tried five times to get the video linked there to work and I can’t, but I’ll take their word for it. One reader says that he saw it and that it was a good piece featuring Ken Rosenthal interviews and such.
Not that this is going to make the people who are mad about this very happy. I presume the response will be that it didn’t air during the game and that it didn’t air on Fox, but on Fox’s cable channel which isn’t widely viewed.
Personally I think the outrage over this is a bit much. Obviously a well-done tribute to Gwynn would’ve been welcome, but I hardly see it as a capital crime that one did not take place during the game. There are major figures in baseball who die every year. Some do get honored during All-Star or World Series broadcasts. Some don’t. I don’t recall baseball making a point to run video montages and things like the Oscars do. And it’s probably worth noting that the Oscars frequently get criticized for missing someone here or there.
At bottom, I don’t think it’s fair to say Major League Baseball has somehow snubbed Gywnn’s death. When it happened there was all manner of nice gestures both by the league, its teams, broadcasters and almost anyone else you can imagine. If your thoughts about last night are “it would’ve been nice to see something,” that’s fine. But if you’re suggesting that Fox or MLB is somehow “disrespecting” Gwynn here, or that they owe apologies and the like, I think you’re overstating things.
This is especially true if you’re one of those people whose default mode is to think everything Fox and MLB do is somehow ill-conceived and mock-worthy. In that case, would you really want them to do something, or are you just firing complaints at big, common targets?
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.