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Driving Toward Diversity


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What you seem to be failing to take into account here is the fact that the Latino population in the US is listed at 18.5% while the percentage of Latinos in MLB is 31.9%. Since the last time the African American percentage was above 17% (17.2% in 1994), the percentage of Latinos has gone up 14.1% while the percentage of whites has actually decreased as well.

 

13% of Americans are Black, so no. Incidentally, that was the percentage of Black MLB players at the turn of the century, and today it has dropped almost to half that. It's a bad trend.
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What you seem to be failing to take into account here is the fact that the Latino population in the US is listed at 18.5% while the percentage of Latinos in MLB is 31.9%. Since the last time the African American percentage was above 17% (17.2% in 1994), the percentage of Latinos has gone up 14.1% while the percentage of whites has actually decreased as well.

Okay? The dearth of Black players in the game was directly discussed in the panel last night, and has been addressed by the commissioner as something he'd like to change. It's not some novel point from me. It's also secondary to the main focus here, which is diversifying front offices and personnel.

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Lance, I thought this was very obvious but apparently not: the panel was about bringing more Black diversity to baseball, specifically. And there's also a much larger conversation going on in our country about Black inequality, stemming from events that took place in our own city. So that's what we're talking about. Make sense?

 

 

First of all it was Levine, not Falvey. Second of all, that's a lazy strawman. The Twins have never in history hired a minority for a manager or GM role. MLB front offices in general are disproportionately white. This doesn't strike you as problematic? Even if white people do tend to be the best person applying for the job, why is that happening? How can we create more diversity in the qualified candidate pool? That's the topic here. There is zero need to get defensive about it. 

 

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I cannot like this post enough. Fixing the minor league pay structure costs so little and fixes so many problems in one fell swoop.

To compete with the pay structure of pro football the MILB costs would be enormous. Peasant wages, minimal wages, even average for American household income wages does not compete with 35 million.

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Those moments when you realize you're math is off... minus 50% is still going to give roughly 13% of the player population... I swear, math has never been my strongest subject.

this logic is wrong because you're only taking 50% off of one group (black males) and then applying it to an entire population ignoring the fact that there are zero women baseball players in the majors (and probably the minors too, but I haven't looked). I'd love to see a female professional ballplayers some day, but I highly doubt I see that happening in my lifetime much less women making up a noticeable percentage of MLB players.

 

13% of Americans are black... that's true. Approximately 13% of American males are black as well. Until women make up a sizeable percentage of baseball players, there's no need to adjust that number downward, and even then it wouldn't be done because black women become part of the conversation.

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What is the percentage of BIPOC people that work at TD? Don't mean any offense just asking an honest question?

It's low, which Nick touches on in the article, which is why we're currently brainstorming and implementing new ways to encourage more diversity within our writer corps (and, hopefully, improving diversity in our community as a result).

 

But while I've been part of various conversations about the writer corps, it's not really my arena so I can't offer much in the way of details.

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To compete with the pay structure of pro football the MILB costs would be enormous. Peasant wages, minimal wages, even average for American household income wages does not compete with 35 million.

That's an apples to oranges comparison. The NFL has nothing approaching the scope of Minor League Baseball, which presents a greater opportunity to more players... if they're paid a living wage to do it.

 

And paying a living wage to MiLB players simply won't cost much money. In MLB player terms, and entire MiLB organization could probably get a pay raise for the cost of one aging, mediocre relief veteran.

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I'm so glad the Twins organized this panel discussion. I think the lack of diversity in front (and back) office positions is the most glaring discrepancy, as Epstein of the Cubs said.

 

Appeal to the prominence of Black payers in other pro sports doesn't really address the issue. In the NFL, where a large number of players are Black, front and back office personnel are overwhelmingly not.

 

Was the panel discussion recorded so that it's available to be watched by those of us who couldn't follow it live?

 

The Twins just uploaded it to YouTube:

 

 

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Why do we even care? Unless people are specifically not getting jobs because of their skin color I don't see a problem. Maybe blacks just prefer playing basketball or football? Maybe Hispanics prefer playing baseball and boxing? Maybe whites prefer baseball and hockey?

 

It fits neatly into stereotypes but maybe that's just the way it is. Not everything appeals to every single person or group of people.

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That's an apples to oranges comparison. The NFL has nothing approaching the scope of Minor League Baseball, which presents a greater opportunity to more players... if they're paid a living wage to do it.

 

And paying a living wage to MiLB players simply won't cost much money. In MLB player terms, and entire MiLB organization could probably get a pay raise for the cost of one aging, mediocre relief veteran.

I have been advocating that minor league pay should be fixed for years. Heck, even have a plan that wouldn't cost either the owners or current MLB players a penny. Cut the huge bonuses paid to the first and second round players by a third or so. That would likely provide enough money to double the salaries for all the minor league players from rookie ball thru AA.   

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I have been advocating that minor league pay should be fixed for years. Heck, even have a plan that wouldn't cost either the owners or current MLB players a penny. Cut the huge bonuses paid to the first and second round players by a third or so. That would likely provide enough money to double the salaries for all the minor league players from rookie ball thru AA.   

I posted the same thought in a thread about MiLB pay. It would take significantly more than a 1/3 cut. Of course this would depend on the targeted compensation. However, I don't see the problem. If players with big bonuses live up to those bonuses ... they are going to make a pile of money. So, why are they getting paid before they live up to it. It would be more equitable in my opinion if all MiLB players got paid better and the ones who make it get paid big once they make it.

 

I actually built a model so that I could look at various structures. All MiLB players could get an average increase of $28,000 for the season based on the assumptions below.

 

* 1st pick gets $1M bonus.

* Subsequent picks go down by 2%.

* 25 rounds

* Bonus for rounds 6-15 = 20,000

* Bonus for rounds 16-25 = $15,000

 

Of course there are many tweaks that could be made but the point is your point is substantiated based on these assumptions. We can adjust the top amount and the rate if decrease to adjust the amount for later rounds or an even greater increase in salary.  

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I posted the same thought in a thread about MiLB pay. It would take significantly more than a 1/3 cut. Of course this would depend on the targeted compensation. However, I don't see the problem. If players with big bonuses live up to those bonuses ... they are going to make a pile of money. So, why are they getting paid before they live up to it. It would be more equitable in my opinion if all MiLB players got paid better and the ones who make it get paid big once they make it.

 

I actually built a model so that I could look at various structures. All MiLB players could get an average increase of $28,000 for the season based on the assumptions below.

 

* 1st pick gets $1M bonus.

* Subsequent picks go down by 2%.

* 25 rounds

* Bonus for rounds 6-15 = 20,000

* Bonus for rounds 16-25 = $15,000

 

Of course there are many tweaks that could be made but the point is your point is substantiated based on these assumptions. We can adjust the top amount and the rate if decrease to adjust the amount for later rounds or an even greater increase in salary.

This is such a deterrent for anyone to ever enter the MLB draft.

 

If you’re an excellent baseball player out of high school, you’re likely an excellent football, basketball, maybe hockey player, too.

 

We need to incentivize playing prep baseball, not create a wall that prevents elite athletes from thinking about baseball as an option and instead pursuing another sport.

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That's an apples to oranges comparison. The NFL has nothing approaching the scope of Minor League Baseball, which presents a greater opportunity to more players... if they're paid a living wage to do it.

 

And paying a living wage to MiLB players simply won't cost much money. In MLB player terms, and entire MiLB organization could probably get a pay raise for the cost of one aging, mediocre relief veteran.

The pay structure in baseball does not appear to inhibit people from playing the sport. I should have included the post you responded to because his rational was Kyler Murray and football.

 

Does the pay structure of MiLB inhibit diversity? I don't know. I really can't find statistics of the makeup of minor league ball. Does the shorter path to money in sports by playing football or basketball have an impact? I can't even speculate on that one.  The socioeconomic status of the families does have an effect on what sports kids play and develop an interest in. MLB does do work in that area. 

 

At what point does a kid go from playing a sport for the love of it and it becomes about the money they make? 

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This is such a deterrent for anyone to ever enter the MLB draft.

If you’re an excellent baseball player out of high school, you’re likely an excellent football, basketball, maybe hockey player, too.

We need to incentivize playing prep baseball, not create a wall that prevents elite athletes from thinking about baseball as an option and instead pursuing another sport.

 

The percentage of athletes that can make it as professionals in more than one sport is less than 1%, especially if we are talking about elite players in multiple sports,  I would add that kids don't start out playing a sport because they plan to be a MLB player. They start playing for fun and the individuals with the requisite enormous talent to play at the MLB level are identified in HS and given scholarships or they are drafted. 

 

You are also ignoring that under a more modest bonus structure all players would be making a decent living. They would not need to be subsidized by someone supporting them. This removes a significant impediment If you are looking for a way to make baseball accessible to everyone. I believe that was the point here. This would allow the players who don't get the big bonuses to pursue a baseball career and they significantly outnumber the big bonus players. We might lose one player every 2 or 3 years out of the fist 3 rounds because they have a better offer in another sport. Small price to pay for all of the other players getting payed a significant wage, IMO. It would not have been much of a loss if Kohl Stewart had decided to play football. 

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This is a problem with baseball and America. First, I want to address what is considered black in this argument. So I am assuming in this argument that Miguel Sano is not considered black. Because if he was then I believe that the percentage would go up. So I am assuming that Sano is considered Latino, but just to play devil's advocate for a second that then means that the fastest man in the world Usain Bolt isn't black??? Ok ok, I digress. But this is an American problem because of finances. Sports in America such as baseball are becoming extremely expensive. So I pay 40 bucks per week for my son to see his hitting coach and 50 bucks per visit to see his pitching coach. My wife and I are doing well financially so we don't have a problem affording these things. My son also plays on two travel ball teams a ten year old team, as he is ten and a 12 year old team. He plays little league, which on its own cost us 90 dollars per kid, (my daughter plays also but she is much younger) plus we had to sell 100 dollars of raffle tickets per kid and you know as well as I do that most parents end up buying more than half of those. Plus we get charged 50 dollars per kid for snack bar. So you get this money back if you actually volunteer to work snack bar during the games. Now we have two kids so to get that money back we'd have to work two snack bars. (This is California, but I'm sure it's similar everywhere). Imagine for a second if you have 4 kids playing, imagine octomom for a second. Ok again I am digressing.

 

Other sports aren't any better. My niece, my sister's daughter, was nominated for NCAA woman of the year, her mother spent between 20 to 30 thousand dollars per year while she was in high school to play on the Nike national team. My sister was inducted into her former college hall of fame, so she was able to do a lot of my niece's coaching as she was growing up, but imagine if she didn't know anything about basketball and had to send her to trainers once or twice a week? Sports are becoming rich people's games, I mean guys like Kobe Bryant and Steph Curry come from families that are well off. It didn't always used to be like that; think back to guys like Daryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, they were inner city kids that grew up playing baseball in the parks, or stick ball in the streets, or they'd play a pickup game at school, I mean kids aren't even allowed to bring baseball equipment to school these days as it's considered dangerous, basketballs are ok, but baseballs and footballs are not ok, it's kinda sad. If you drive by a baseball field these days there are no kids out there playing baseball unless they are in uniforms and there is some sort of organized activity going on. You just don't see kids playing pickup games, over the line, 500, pepper or anything like that these days. If it's happening, it's been organized by a sanctioned event, which needs insurance, umpires to be paid etc.... Again, comes at a cost. Again this new American society affects all poor people, black, white, Latino, Asian, etc....

 

Sports in college is also starting to get harder for poorer people. They continue to increase the standards to become eligible to play college sports. Now on face value, most people would say that is a good thing, but it's harder to qualify to go to college to play sports than it is to just qualify to go to college itself. Now if you are a poor inner city kid, there is a good chance that you were not as well prepared to go to high school than kids from a more affluent area. So now, colleges look at your classes as 9th graders and if they bomb them they can re-take them to get a better grade, but the NCAA looks at the first time you took the class. Now just to get into school, they won't do that, but to play sports they will. So again another strike against kids from poorer neighborhoods.

 

So now in my opinion MLB is also at fault. They put academies down in the Latin American countries like the Dominican Republic, etc... Many of those kids, a lot of them black, but also Latino are trained in these academies to play baseball. Most of them drop out of school and focus on baseball only. https://www.thedialogue.org/blogs/2019/03/baseball-education-dominican-republic/

So, these kids train in baseball all day and then they can get signed by an MLB team as early as age 16, whereas our own youth, our own African American black athletes can't get drafted until they are 18, if African American black athletes go to college, (all of the American kids, but we are looking at black Americans) they aren't allowed to go into the draft until they have completed 3 years of school. So you have a guy like Ronald Acuna who probably was getting trained by MLB coaches in Venezuela by the time he was 12 or 13. Was signed to an MLB team by the time he was 16 or 17, was already in the majors by the time he was 20. Doesn't it seem like that would put all American born players, American black players at a disadvantage if they decide to better their education and they can't even get drafted until they are 21 at the earliest? Our 18 year old draftee's were playing 25 games a year in high school, getting prob about 2 hours of practice per day for 5 days a week and if you grow up in a cold weather state that might only take place for 3 - 4 months max with your high school coach. There is no way a black athlete in America (or any athlete for that matter) can compete with the sheer amount of hours spent working on his baseball craft as Ronald Acuna was able to. Our kids are at a disadvantage, baseball wise as compared to the kids coming out of the Latin American baseball academies. Heck even Max Kepler I think was signed by the time he was 16?

 

So there are a lot of things at play here when talking about the decrease in American black baseball players. Even many of the black American baseball players have come from well off families. Guys like Dee Gordon Ken Griffey Jr. Barry Bonds to just name a few, their fathers played major league baseball and as a result were a little more well off and could afford whatever their kids needed growing up, not to mention they had all access to great coaching starting at a young age. But nonetheless, sports are becoming rich people's activities including at the college level, and the baseball academies in places like Latin America are making it harder for American born athletes altogether and that also includes black American athletes.

 

Now as far as managers and GM's that seems to be a problem in all sports. How many black coaches and GM's are there in hockey? Even basketball, I mean you have Michael Jordan but this is a rich people's issue, and until you have more black ownership that one may be hard to solve. I think getting more black people into prominent roles in sports management might be an easier fix in the short term.

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I would add that kids don't start out playing a sport because they plan to be a MLB player. 

Start out? No.

 

But kids, especially the elite athletes, begin to decide their future path through high school and into a sport as young as 11-12 years old and start to play on roving teams, attending specialized camps, etc.

 

And if you offer a child a path that caps them at $1m versus a path that offers them literally 20-30x that amount of money, which direction do you think their parents will steer them?

 

Take that money from MLB salaries, not other draft picks. The point is to encourage kids to play this sport, not discourage them.

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Start out? No.

 

But kids, especially the elite athletes, begin to decide their future path through high school and into a sport as young as 11-12 years old and start to play on roving teams, attending specialized camps, etc.

 

And if you offer a child a path that caps them at $1m versus a path that offers them literally 20-30x that amount of money, which direction do you think their parents will steer them?

 

Take that money from MLB salaries, not other draft picks. The point is to encourage kids to play this sport, not discourage them.

 

I agree completely that MLB players are paid enough that it would be reasonable to redistribute some of the wealth. However, MiLB players are not represented in the CBA and I don't believe the players are willing to fund a pay increase for MiLB players. This adjustment would have been made long ago if they were willing. I doubt this is going to change.

 

You also managed to completely ignore the core of my point which is we would lose VERY few players. To suggest there is not enough money in MLB to attract the best talent is absurd as is the argument they would dissuade athletes from baseball. There is no downside to the game in redistributing the bonus money. The downside is to the players getting the big bonuses. I have a hard time feeling bad for them when the individuals that live up to the big bonus are going to get paid in a monumental way. Why do we need to protest players getting big bonuses that never earn them. It's also not fair that some guys get huge money for NOT making it to the MLB level while others get payed millions.  

 

 

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Not sure where you are going with this (should the people in charge be the same percentage as players or society?)But this pdf shows the NFL

https://43530132-36e9-4f52-811a-182c7a91933b.filesusr.com/ugd/3844fb_1478b405e58e42608f1ed2223437d398.pdf

Thanks for this useful information! Here's a quote that stands out to me: 

 

"The National Football League (NFL) achieved a B for racial hiring practices and a C+ for gender hiring practices in the 2019 NFL Racial and Gender Report Card, released by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) at the University of Central Florida (UCF). This gave the NFL a combined B- grade. Their overall score of 79.3 percent is the lowest the League has recorded in the last 15 years. The B for racial hiring practices broke a streak of nine consecutive years of earning an A- or higher."

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