I check all the boxes.
I played nine seasons in the big leagues with the Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers.
I have experience as a member of the Executive Subcommittee of the Major League Baseball Association and am familiar with baseball management.
I graduated from an Ivy League at a time when it meant a lot in terms of leadership opportunities in baseball.
I have been a candidate before and I believe I have the voice and desire to be a great manager in the first division.
But I can’t be your candidate now.
This truth has a lot to do with the other box I’m looking at: Black father.
As with any potential executive with young children, the stress of working in a job that takes you away from home is real. The importance of missing important milestones in their lives and having their spouses endure so much makes even the greatest work a compromise.
But as a black father in 2021, this compromise becomes a deal breaker for me.
How can I abandon my children for so long when the poison of racism makes me fear for their safety every day?
Last year was a year of racial math in America. But in the dark, much of what we saw was banal. This year has given us even more undeniable evidence of systemic racism, sometimes filmed on camera, and most of my four children, all under 13, are old enough to watch closely.
In recognition of my privilege to make this choice, I want to be present as often as possible when they ask profound questions about this reality. It’s important for me to share first-hand experiences to help them understand, but I still don’t want them to lose hope. Even as children of scabies, which was once widespread, they are not immune because of the benefits associated with it. These benefits also make it important to teach them empathy for others and determination in the face of hate.
I knew what it meant to be black in America long before I became a parent, before I knew that leaving my own driveway was risky, that buying a house had a lower real estate value, that sending my kids to school came with forces that destroyed their self-esteem-when schools were still largely segregated and security guards were disproportionately called upon to deal with black students. But now that I know all this, how can I leave it all at the door?
This grammatical pause helps explain how racism thrives. Doug Glanville.
– Learn more about the undefeated
By the end of 2014, I knew I had signed on to be the next general manager of the Tampa Bay Rays. The shelves brought the most diverse field of candidates in history. Meanwhile, in black lives, just months before Connecticut passed a law about meeting a police officer in my own driveway.
I was shoveling one snowy day when a police officer from another town, parked across the street, finally approached me. He rudely asked me if I was digging other people’s driveways to make extra money. I told him it was my house. When he finally left with a sarcastic remark, I stood there feeling robbed of my dignity and property rights. It took me 18 months of my life, countless meetings, community involvement and multiple sessions with my family to achieve restorative justice. Glanville’s Law was born, reminding officials not to cross city lines and apply the municipal laws of another city. My kids were watching.
I didn’t get the job with the Rays, which I was already nervous about. The following year I landed in Los Angeles after midnight and when I took a taxi with my white colleague, the driver saw me and told me to take the bus, which cost $19. He refused to take me to the hotel. When police tried to see how often this happened at the Los Angeles airport, it happened the first night with 30% of the black drivers undercover. It is one of the most diverse airports in the world.
My son noticed a pattern: Every time something bad happened to you, he said it probably had to do with the color of your skin.
I got into sports media, which I love. However, I do not take lightly the decision to not be actively involved in management at this time. I am grateful for the requests I have received over the years, not only for my future, but also because I have been able to participate in the League’s efforts to correct a legacy of injustice. This is a critical issue because our country continues to suffer, as evidenced by the murder of George Floyd. I would love to see it as an opportunity to shape the culture, to welcome others, to be kind, to see talent from a different perspective, to discover winners outside of traditional perceptions.
In the 21st century, baseball’s administrative offices have changed. Century dedicated to analysis. Diversity? Not so much. Jun Lee
But this way of doing things is no guarantee. Dusty Baker, an amazing mentor, had an incredibly successful career. He is approaching the 2,000 win mark and has faced ups and downs as a black leader. However, he also lost his job after playing in the playoffs and winning over 90 games. In one case, he had to wait until a white candidate turned down the job because the offer was too low. Recently, he was out of work for two years after winning 97 games. One of the most iconic black executives in history was tasked with cleaning up after the scandal of the century in Houston. As a black person, you care about how members of your own race are treated. Especially if you need more substance in the game – not less.
Since the introduction of the Selig rule in 1999, the groups that are allowed to consider minority candidates have quietly begun to remove previous management experience as a prerequisite. Analysts have become an important factor in hiring. For a long time, black candidates fought for fair treatment. Initially, they said they needed a lot of management experience to get into the maintenance space. Then, in the second decade of the Selig rule, eleven white candidates were hired without any prior professional experience in leadership or management. In one case, the team filled the Director position by removing him from the front office rather than hiring an experienced candidate and giving the position to the Executive Director on the spot. Yes, many of the players mentioned were respected and they had a lot of success together, but that still can’t explain the lack of color. In every aspect of a black man’s life, the rules change once it’s your turn.
Recent events in Washington have only crystallized what I already knew: that there are two competing narratives in our country, and that at the center of those narratives are power and race. It’s hard to answer my kids’ questions about why the predominantly white crowd would have received such favoritism over the peaceful gathering of blacks in the same place at that time. Watching the dual interpretation of the threat unfold before your eyes reveals and feeds a sense of injustice. It was hard not to fear for the future, as this rampant horror reminded me of the worst of our past.
I think I’ll make it to the dugout. And yet, I feel really bad about walking through the door all year and not being able to help my kids during times like this.
You heard Doug Glanville read excerpts from that essay on Monday. Listening
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While there has been tremendous progress in some areas – progress we must fight to preserve – I will fight to be the absentee father of black people for the entire big league season. I understand why so many devoted parents find a career in baseball. They make it work, they bring the two worlds closer together. They persevere with the privilege of working in the sport they love. I like the way they do it.
But if we truly value diversity, it must be reflected in more than just a sprinkling of People of Color in management positions. We need to do more than just put up Black Lives Matters signs. We need to learn from the history of these various candidates and understand what they face every day, because many of them, like me, are preparing their children for the white supremacy that has been passed down from generation to generation in their largest hall.
Despite the progress we have made, the worst thing we see today is who we are. They’re everywhere, including baseball. I have often been told that the experience of racism was a figment of my imagination, now it has a face and apparently a weapon for the world to see. Am I sure? My children?
As long as I have these existential questions, especially as long as my children are small, I will be an undecided candidate. I wouldn’t blame anyone for not thinking of me. But I still believe that play can help make the world a better place – for all our children – even if I choose to encourage it from afar.
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