Major League Baseball just announced that former Major League outfielder Curtis Pride as been named its newest Ambassador for Inclusion. In addition, Billy Bean, who was hired as the league’s inaugural Ambassador for Inclusion in July 2014, has been promoted to the expanded position of Vice President, Social Responsibility & Inclusion.
As was the case with Bean, Pride will “provide guidance, assistance and training related to MLB’s efforts to ensure an inclusive environment. A large part of Pride’s role will be to encourage continued outreach, participation and equal opportunity in support of MLB’s Youth Programs, ” said MLB in its release. Bean’s role will be expanded, as he takes the helm of the league’s social responsibility initiatives, including “oversight of MLB’s Workplace Code of Conduct and anti-bullying programming, while continuing to facilitate inclusion strategies with a focus on the LGBT community.”
Pride, who has been deaf since birth, played 11 seasons in the bigs between 1993 and 2006, with stints with the Montreal Expos, the Detroit Tigers, the Boston Red Sox, the Atlanta Braves, the New York Yankees and the Anaheim Angels. For the past several years he has been the baseball coach at Gallaudet University.
It’s both interesting and encouraging to see Bean’s elevation to an actual executive-level title while the position of “ambassador” remains, filled with new blood. Corporate politics bore some people, but titles matter when it comes to assessing an organization’s commitment to any given sector and pursuit, and putting Bean at the same level of other vice presidents, all the while establishing a pipeline to the executive level with Pride’s hire, shows that MLB is committed to its diversity and inclusion initiatives.