Join the conversation:

Carlos Delgado calls MLB’s lack of Latin American managers ‘really sad’

Carlos Delgado calls MLB’s lack of Latin American managers ‘really sad’

Posted by PanamericanWorld on May 24, 2016

With the Atlanta Braves firing Fredi Gonzalez last week, Major League Baseball is without a single Latin American manager for the first time in 25 years — going all the way back to 1991, before Felipe Alou was at the helm of the Montreal Expos.

“It’s really sad,” said Carlos Delgado, the former Blue Jays great, who served as Puerto Rico’s hitting coach at the 2013 World Baseball Classic. “With all the players that come from Latin American countries, you’d want to see more managers.”

More than a quarter of major-league players hail from Latin America, so the lack of representation in the managerial ranks has been raised as a shortcoming the league should address. After Gonzalez’s firing, MLB has only two non-white managers — the Washington Nationals’ Dusty Baker and L.A. Dodgers’ Dave Roberts — down from a high of 10 visible-minority managers in 2002 and 2009.

Luis Rivera, the Blue Jays third base coach who, like Delgado, is Puerto Rican, said he wished there were more Latin American managers but he didn’t necessarily see it as a problem that needs fixing.

“I think the owners hire the person they think is most capable,” he said. “We wish we had more chances to manage, but it’s a decision they have to make.”

Major-league teams are required to interview at least one person from a visible minority when hiring a new manager, as a result of the so-called “Bud Selig rule,” named for MLB’s previous commissioner, who hoped to increase the diversity among major-league managers.

But some minority candidates have said this merely tokenizes their candidacies.

Rivera, who twice interviewed for managerial posts in Toronto, said owners should be able to choose whoever they think is best for the job.

“This is a business,” he said. “If they feel this guy is better than the other guy, that’s who they’re going to choose.”

Delgado, who also works as a special assistant to the Jays primarily offering occasional hitting instruction to minor-league players, said the biggest obstacle for Latin American managers is tradition. Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s colour barrier almost 70 years ago, he said, but owners and team executives are still predominantly white and there remains a cultural disconnect.

“We’ve got a different culture, we speak a different way, we have different body language,” Delgado said. “Sometimes in the industry that’s still not accepted 100 per cent.”

Rivera, however, said he doesn’t see any particular obstacles for prospective Latin American managers. “As long as they speak better English than me.”

Rivera, it should be noted, speaks fluent English, though accented. But he was being self-deprecating, not wry.

“If they’re capable, if they know the game, if they study the game, if they get along well with American players as well as the Latino players there are no obstacles,” he said.

Gonzalez, whose Braves had the worst record in the National League, previously had admitted to feeling a certain pressure to succeed as MLB’s only Latin American manager.

“I feel that I have to do a really good job managing so that other Latin American coaches can get an opportunity,” he told ESPN’s Marly Rivera at the end of last season.

In the same interview, he suggested that even when Latin American managers do get an opportunity, they rarely get a second chance. Carlos Tosca, for instance, owns a .500 record from managing parts of three seasons in Toronto. But he has yet to get another managing job and was fired as the Braves’ bench coach alongside Gonzalez.

Link To Full Article: 

Facebook comments

Monthly newsletter featuring articles hand picked by our country managers from the best content across PanamericanWorld.

Monthly newsletter featuring articles hand picked by our country managers from the best content across the Caribbean Region on PanamericanWorld.