Race Matters: Does The Black Community’s Disinterest In Baseball Affect Clubhouse Hiring Practices?

- By Bossip Staff

Major League Baseball Only Has 2 Managers Of Color Out Of 30 Teams

As popular as Major League Baseball was at one point in this country, it appears, on the surface, that black people are just generally not that interested in “America’s Pastime”. In reading a story posted by The Bleacher Report, we couldn’t help but wonder if baseball had a bigger black audience, would there be more diversity among the managerial staff in the league which is embarrassingly and overwhelmingly white.

Major League Baseball could have a worse reputation with racial diversity. Baseball is the sport of Jackie Robinson, after all, and today’s players come from all over the globe.

There is one thing that catches one’s eye, however: When it comes to the guys who are running things on the field, “diversity” isn’t the word that springs to mind.

There are 30 managers in Major League Baseball, and right now only two are minorities: The Seattle Mariners have an African-American skipper in Lloyd McClendon, and the Atlanta Braves have a Latino skipper in Fredi Gonzalez. The other 28? They’re all white.

That’s questionable enough on its own right, and then you get into the context at play here.

The league’s number of two minority managers is down from five in 2014 after Bo Porter, Ron Washington and Rick Renteria found themselves out of a job. It’s also a low point that MLB hasn’t seen in a while, as David Brown of the Hardball Times noted in January that there were never fewer than three minority managers during Bud Selig’s tenure as MLB’s commissioner between 1998 and 2014.

Damn, 2 out of 30?!

And that was no accident. As Richard Justice of MLB.com recalled in 2013, Selig made history when he introduced what would come to be known as the “Selig Rule” in 1999. The rule required clubs to consider—though not necessarily interview—minority candidates “for all general manager, assistant general manager, field manager, director of player development and director of scouting positions.”

The rule was the first of its kind, predating the National Football League’s “Rooney Rule” by four years. And given the doors it opened, it’s certainly one of the brighter spots of Selig’s legacy.

However, Selig is gone now, having turned over the commissioner’s chair to Rob Manfred. It’s not a good look that teams appear to be using Selig’s exit as an excuse to seemingly ignore the Selig Rule, and the Milwaukee Brewers and Miami Marlins didn’t help the perception with their actions in May.

After the Brewers fired Ron Roenicke, they quickly replaced him with another white manager in former player Craig Counsell. The Marlins followed suit after they fired Mike Redmond, replacing him with general manager Dan Jennings. In doing so, neither club so much as paid lip service to the Selig Rule.

Here are some statistics to consider…

That’s just practical business thinking, and that alone is reason enough to be wary of MLB’s shortage of minority managers. Having 93 percent white managers doesn’t quite reflect a country that, per the United States Census, is only 78 percent white. Even MLB’s audience isn’t as white as its collection of managers, as The Atlantic put baseball’s percentage of white fans at just 83 percent last year.

Even more concerning, however, is how having 93 percent white managers is hardly reflective of the demographics of baseball itself. According to Lapchick’s study, only 58.8 percent of the league’s players are white, compared to 29.3 percent Latino and 8.3 percent African-American.

Indeed, the disparity between those percentages and the percentage of white managers is staggering. And while it’s certainly not impossible for a white man to be the right common denominator in a diverse clubhouse, the way things are now sends a misbegotten message that only white men can be common denominators in today’s MLB.

Do you even care enough about baseball to care whether or not the managerial staff across the league is diverse?

Check this article by CBSSports to see a great list of qualified men of color who could manage a baseball squad.

Image via AP

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