Our Misbehavin’ Home-Field Media
While Baseball’s performance level in minority hirings has been slipping, its public relations skills are clearly improving. Good work, Commissioner Rob Manfred. Few fans had a chance to learn that the MLB’s latest annual diversity report card was full of low grades. Manfred’s team seemed to insure that the report received little media exposure. One under publicized and little realized fact:: the sport has three big league managers of color now – Dave Roberts of the Dodgers, the Nationals’ Dusty Baker and Rick Renteria of the White Sox – compared to the 10 minority skippers it could boast as recently as 2009.
Overall, MLB dropped more than eight points in racial hiring for on-and-off field jobs since last year and four-and-a-half points in gender hiring at the office level. Scorekeeper Richard Lapchick’s final grade was 76, down six-and-a-half points from 2016. If asked, we would have given Manfred and his team a tougher grade; the decision to return the All-Star game to exhibition from serious competition.deserves a still-lower grade..
Of course, the most egregious misplay belonged to the sporting media, which, by and large, chose to ignore the bad news about Baseball employment. The political media play a similar game while covering Team USA’s relations with counterparts abroad. The Yanqui press corps sends its vaunted objectivity to the showers then; how? by giving a pass to countries that play ball with Uncle Sam and pummeling those who refuse to play along. Venezuela has long been a prime example of a negative media target. The NY Times has consistently attacked Caracas since the days of Hugo Chavez a decade-and-a-half ago.
At the same time, the mainstream media have dutifully followed Team USA’s lead in looking the other way with regard to Honduras, where we have a military base. In 2009, Team Obama, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton playing a prominent role, reneged on supporting liberal president Manuel Zelaya, target of a right-wing coup. After Zelaya was deposed, Honduras became a drug-infested hell-hole. Hardly a word from the Yanqui media after the coup then or now, despite an overdue State Department warning early this year of Honduras’ “high crime and violence rates.”
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Yankee (not Yanqui) haters in this country deserve sympathy for strong early signs the Pinstripers are a playoff team, not the also-rans most observers considered them to be. Yes, it’s early, but the team’s impressive mix of veterans and newcomers – buttressed by good pitching – looks like it will stay the playoff-bound course as the rest of the season unfolds. It seems equally safe to describe the playoff-possibility of .the once-touted 2017 Mets with a single NY word: fuhgedaboudit!
(The Nub is a team effort skippered by Dick Starkey. Comments about blog issues are welcome. Previous Nubs may be found by scrolling below.)