Baseball's hot stove league is at full blast, and again Blacks are the ones getting burned.
Major League Baseball supposedly has a rule that requires clubs to interview persons of color whenever managerial openings occur. Cincinnati hired Dusty Baker as its new manager last month.
What about the New York Yankees? By now you should know Joe Torre received a win-or-out-the-door ultimatum during the playoffs. His team won one of two games after that. Then we witnessed the longtime manager's status dangled like yesterday's wash while the Yankees brain (?) trust met. Torre was offered a one-year contract full of silly incentives that they knew he wouldn't agree to, and the manager walked away.
Supposedly Torre's replacement is Joe Girardi, which at last glance, isn't Black.
Now it's reported that the Los Angeles Dodgers, who openly made their intentions known that they didn't want Grady Little back as skipper, now are talking with Torre for the yet-to-be-opened job. If Little doesn't soon resign, he certainly is a fool, especially knowing that your employer don't want you around any more.
Whether the Dodgers hire Torre or not is not the question. Rather what happened to the person of color rule ? It seems like the "out-of-sight, out-of-mind" clause has been invoked.
It seems that Commissioner Bud Selig, a classic waffler when it comes to sticking to rules, is going to give Los Angeles a pass because of their history of diversity.
What? Just because they once had Jackie Robinson? That was over five decades ago, and the team was stationed in Brooklyn.
I can count the number of Dodgers managers on either hand -- let me see . . .
What's good is a rule when it can be easily ignored, get around, or be winked at while doing business as usual.
The problem with such rules is that it forces teams to put on a diversity dog-and-pony show. The NFL's Rooney Rule is a classic example. Even though the league can boast about the few Black head coaches it has; that there were two coaching in last year's Super Bowl, look at how many other Blacks get the perfuctionary interview, complete with lunch or dinner, and a go-back-home card at the end. Meanwhile, White owners continue down the Great White Way as they hire a new coach, who usually is the same skin color as they.
Unless some teeth is added rules regarding interviewing and hiring persons of color, then persons such as Selig is nothing but all bark. Name an individual who wants to be a party to such charades. Hardly anyone with any semblance of pride will go into an interview, knowing that they are only a notch on the affirmative action belt.
Years ago, I applied for a position at a Midwestern college (the name is being withheld not to protect the guilty but because it happened so long ago). I got a return response, saying thanks for the interest but no thanks.
Then several weeks later, this same school called my home, wanting me to call them back collect. At the time I was home visiting my terminally ill father. I did call the school, who told me they wanted me to spend two days interviewing for the position.
After my father's funeral, I went to the interview. Almost immediately, it was crystal clear why I was there -- they were hoping that I was impressed enough with the campus to want to work there.
Only one interviewer came clean and told me that I was needed for affirmative action purposes only. I might add, that official was the only one who genuinely wanted me to come there because he felt I was the right person for the job.
Of course, I didn't take the job. I told them at the end of the two-day ordeal that I would not be interested, even if they offered it. But I truly appreciated the free hotel room and the meals.
In sports or whatever field, full diversity will only be truly achieved in this country when it becomes more than a token act. This is the case in hiring baseball managers of color.
Diversity will be nothing but a three or four-letter word. Few or none.