I received this email after posting the John Coppolella piece a little while ago. It’s, from a young man who is trying to get into Major League Baseball but who has had to deal with the sorts of hurdles I talked about in the previous article. Specifically: he’s not rich, he has life responsibilities and he can’t simply leap into a job which would require him to live like a frat kid from the Ivy Leagues well into his 20s in order to make it all work out.
A couple of minor details were altered to protect the writer’s identity, but it’s 99% verbatim:
I’m a 19 year old of Latin American descent. I am already engaged to be married, so my situation is just totally different and unusual. I want to work in baseball ops eventually, and I’m looking for minor league video internships at the moment. My fiancée and I are willing to move anywhere just to get my baseball career started.
We went to the Winter Meetings last week and were there for all four days on our very last dollar. We didn’t even have money to buy dinner so we’re going to be overdue on all of our credit cards pretty soon. But you know what? Whatever. We’re gonna make this work.
In D.C., I interviewed with three teams. Every kid/adult or whatever you wanna call them, was white. They were all white, with expensive degrees. I spoke to four guys who were interviewing with one of the teams I was and they all BRAGGED about how their parents had enough money to pay for their apartment/car/insurance and whatever comes with moving for a job.
What about me? I can’t do that. We’re living off refund checks, and McDonald’s for dinner. But who cares? I know this is going to work one way or another. I have my contacts and all that BS. But at the end of the day, will a team hire a young Latin American kid who wants to learn, wants to guarantee his fiancée a better life down the road, and wants to help his own family eventually, or will they hire the 24-year-old in a slick suit who graduated from Yale with a degree in economics and can live in the office 24 hours a day with no outside responsibilities? Easy answer. I don’t fault teams for hiring qualified candidates. But I really don’t know why they sit there and gripe about diversity problems when the answer is right in front them.
Just wanted to share my thoughts with you man. There are people like me who want to work in baseball, but aren’t as privileged as other kids.
I’ve been going to the Winter Meetings for eight years and I talk to job seekers at every one of them. This is not the first time I’ve heard a story similar to this one.
As I said before: Major League Baseball is under no obligation to change its practices. If it feels that paying low wages to entry level people who are willing to take extraordinary measures or, alternatively, have a support system to help them make it all work is a successful practice, they can obviously continue to do so.
What they cannot do is throw their hands up in the air and ask why they keep attracting the same sorts of employees and why they are missing out on hires with more diverse backgrounds, however one wishes to define diversity.