When the Cardinals named Mark McGwire as their hitting coach last offseason it was first met with shock. Then criticism. Then questions. Then McGwire apologized, the season started and all of the media hype sort of just … went away.
Would we see the same reaction if Rafael Palmeiro was suddenly named the Orioles’ hitting coach? Or if a major league team hired Jose Canseco?
How about Barry Bonds?
The former Giants slugger told the Associated Press before Wednesday’s World Series Game 1 that he would love to enter the coaching side of the baseball world and that San Francisco would be an ideal place for his debut.
“I have a gift and sooner or later I have to give it away,” Bonds said. “I have to share it. Hopefully I’ll get the opportunity here.”
The post-PED baseball world is filled with a lot of unknowns. McGwire was embraced because he apologized — live, on MLB Network with Bob Costas — and because he opened himself to all questions when reporters came crawling during spring training. Can Bonds do that? He has battled the media since the early days of his playing career and he’s yet to hint at any sort of remorse for cheating the game back in the early 2000s.
Until he apologizes, and until he is able to handle a serious line of questioning, it’s highly doubtful that Bonds will be hired as an instructor anywhere.
Last month, Mariners former director of high performance, Dr. Lorena Martin, was dismissed from the club after the first year of her three-year contract. She made serious allegations of racism and sexism against the Mariners in the days that followed, all of which have been the subject of multiple investigations by the team itself as well as Major League Baseball. On Friday evening, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic published an email that had purportedly been sent to Mariners staff members by CEO John Stanton.
The email itself was printed here in full (subscription required) and basically rehashes everything the Mariners said in an official statement on Monday: That the team continues to deny allegations of racist and sexist behavior by general manager Jerry Dipoto, manager Scott Servais, and farm director Andy McKay because they are “completely inconsistent with who they are and what the Seattle Mariners stand for.”
Stanton added that no one had stepped forward to corroborate Martin’s accusations so far, and also went out of his way to mention that he had never personally observed members of the Mariners personnel “making disparaging, racist or sexist comments” during two trips to the Dominican Republic. The email concluded with an invitation for other staff members to speak up if they had any differing experiences or concerns about the team.
According to multiple reports from the Seattle Times and Tacoma News Tribune, among other outlets, Martin has yet to reveal a number of incriminating emails she claimed to have in her possession, nor has any staff member publicly supported her previous statements on her wrongful termination or the toxic culture within the club. That doesn’t mean, however, that the allegations she made against the Mariners are false, just as Stanton’s claim that he never personally witnessed instances of racism and sexism within the organization doesn’t mean that racist and sexist statements and actions were never made. As Bill pointed out, Martin has likely burned all bridges within the organization and, more significantly, throughout the league as well. It stands to reason that others would feel hesitant to come forward in light of the harsh ramifications that typically await whistleblowers in this kind of situation.
We’ll update this story as it continues to develop.