INDIANAPOLIS—As I left for Indianapolis, my wife issued a warning:
“Better not find any girls there!”
I guess a certain low-level professional golfer’s scandal had her worried. I could’ve simply told her that in five and a half years of professional baseball I’d never cheated, but instead I went another route. “I’ll probably be surrounded by men,” I said.
I expected females to be trace elements at baseball’s Winter Meetings, but as I rounded the steps leading to the expansive lobby of the Marriott Hotel, a song began playing in my head:
“It’s raining men! Alleluia! It’s raining men!”
It really was incredible. A sea of men overtook me.
I took a seat near the bar, and, like a lurching 14-year-old boy, began counting the number of women that I saw: 1, 2, 3 . . . 4 . . . 5 . . . ah, a sixth across the room (perhaps Kim Ng?). I counted less than 10 in about a five-minute search. There were at least 200 people in the room.
I quickly gave up this search, for my wife called me in the middle of it. It was as if she knew my actions.
The game of baseball is played by men, so I guess one would naturally expect more men running it. But a 20:1 ratio?
I left the bar and walked up the steps to the press area. Here I found more men. Only a few female journalists scattered about. The whole place was a bratwurst fest that would’ve made any Oktoberfest proud.
The thought occurred to me that perhaps one needed a baseball background to perform most of these jobs. Then I thought about the number of front office posts filled by those without baseball skills. Baseball skills aren’t always a prerequisite to perform certain front office jobs. The same could be said for journalists.
“Perhaps women simply don’t want to work in baseball,” I thought. So I began to look around for other signs of diversity. A few African-Americans; a couple of individuals of Asian descent . . . and that was it. The most shocking thing: almost no obvious Latinos.
This was a depressing realization. After all, Latinos made up 27 percent of players on MLB opening day rosters and around 50 percent of minor league players. They’ve had a strong impact on the game for 40 years, and so one would expect to find them dotted throughout the room.
I tried providing an explanation for this. Perhaps all of the Latino front office personnel were back in their home countries, either coaching or running winter league teams there? Or perhaps they were off scouting those leagues? Or perhaps they are genuinely underrepresented in this room.
Baseball teams are as diverse as ever, with minor leaguers coming from virtually all corners of the world. This makes for a fun, interesting environment. Unique perspectives, and a lot of laughter, are brought to almost every situation. But this room hardly represented diversity.
On the way to Indy, I happened to be watching “Skulls III.” It’s one of the worst movies ever made (please don’t watch it), but it ironically focuses on a female’s attempt to become the first woman tapped by Yale’s exclusively male secret society. Obviously baseball isn’t as discriminatory as this group. The possibility even exists that there is a reason for the situation. Perhaps those from diverse groups either are less qualified or don’t want to work in baseball. Or maybe it was just coincidence.
Whatever the reason, I was surrounded by white men, and my wife was happy.