GIRARDI SAYS THANKS BUT NO THANKS
The former Marlins' manager said all the right things about the city, the owner, the general manager, the president, and the players in an interview on Monday. He then said that he didn't want the job.
So, now what?
The Nationals have many names in the hopper -- Terry Pendleton, Manny Acta, Ron Washington, Tony Pena -- but whoever is swept into the clubhouse come April won't have a mandate. Somehow, the Nationals are going to have to call their news conference, slap on some happy-faces, and say that "Joe Jones" was our first choice all along. The Nationals have held their search for a new manager behind closed doors for just this reason -- they didn't want to publicly hire their second or third choice.
Something else troubles me regarding the remaining pool of managerial candidates. They are all minority. Now, before you call me a such-and-such, hear me out. I want the Nationals to be as diverse as the applicant's talent allows. I cheered that day that Frank Robinson became the first black manager in baseball history. But here's the rub: When the entire group of applicants are minorities, whoever is hired, no matter how solid the hire might be, someone -- well, many people actually -- will say that the "only reason" that so-and-so got the job was because of their skin color. I think Terry Pendleton would make a superb manager, but baseball has set him up as a "diversity hire" and not "the best man available" (which he just may be).
Sometimes, trying too hard to be fair leads to an unfair situation. Unfair for the Nationals, unfair for Major League Baseball, and unfair to the person ultimately hired for the job. I understand that demons are being excised here, but let me ask you this: what do you think would be happening right now if that applicant pool was all white?
Truth always lies somewhere in the middle, and that's where the team's hiring process should be. In the middle, and fair to everyone.
I too couldn't care less what color our new manager is. I want him to be good at what he does; beyond that, it's unimportant.
But I don't like being called a racist because I'm not rooting for the new boss to be a minority. That's kind of bass-ackward, don't you think.
I'm not questioning your view, but simply stating the obvious: you and I know that there would be a cascade of anecdotal racism thrown at the team were it seven white applicants.
No matter how good a new manager might be, if he comes from that pool of all- minority applicants, there are going to be white bigots and racists screaming, "see! -- we can't even get an interview to manage the team." And while they would be wrong, they were given their "ammunition" by the very process that was trying to be fair.
I hear now that AAA manager John Russell is going to be interviewed, which I think is a great thing. But I'll say about Russell what I said about the minority-laden group that seemed to be an afterthought after Joe Girardi: the system is creating the appearance of inpropriety, of unfairness. I understand --- if you believe in Affirmative Action, then you'll disagree with me, and if you don't like it, you'll agree.
Just like everything else, we're a country split right down the middle.
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