Beane: check. Zito: check. Ok, now it's time for me to rag, just mercilessly, on...Brandon Buckley. Kidding! We love you, Brandon!
Today I do want to address a serious and controversial subject, though, because I think it's an important topic--and that is how much I am truly bothered by Major League Baseball's "minority interview" policy for hiring managers. It's the kind of policy that either intends to, or purports to, help people of color, and winds up, as I see it, doing some damage but no help.
The policy is that before hiring a manager, a team must interview at least one minority candidate. The idea, I suppose, is that the policy will force teams to at least consider, or at the very least meet and listen to, or at the very least sit in the same room with for a while, minority candidates that might otherwise get shut out of the process. It's a nice thought--actually, I'm not even convinced about that--but in practice here's how I see it playing out:
When a team already knows that it wishes to hire Caucasian McWhitey, it satisfies the policy by calling in someone to fulfill the quota; we'll call that someone...I don't know, "Ron Washington". When McWhitey is hired, Washington has no idea whether he was only interviewed to fulfill the quota before the fait accompli could be announced, or whether he was a legitimate candidate who was simply deemed not quite as good a match as McWhitey. After a few failed interview attempts that seemed to go well, Washington might really start to wonder, but he'll never know for sure. For example, next week the A's will formally interview Washington for the 2007 A's manager's job, but if Bob Geren is ultimately hired we will never know whether Washington was ever actually considered, or whether the decision was made before any interviews took place.
There is simply no point in requiring a quota for interviews. Actual jobs, sure: Now we are debating Affirmative Action, and we can all get riled up, and end the conversation with no one having changed his or her point of view--welcome to debates on topics like Affirmative Action. But the way MLB does "Affirmative Action" is just stupid. And a bit humiliating, and ultimately a bit insulting, to the people of color who are supposed to be saying "thanks" for these "opportunities" to "interview".