The Atlanta Braves fired manager Fredi González Tuesday following a 9–28 start to his sixth season with the club. Brian Snitker, manager of the AAA Gwinnett Braves, will serve as interim manager for the major league team.
González, who is Cuban-American, was the only Latino manager among the 30 MLB teams.
Dave Roberts of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Dusty Baker of the Nationals, both of whom are African-American and were hired by their respective clubs prior to the 2016 season, are now the only minority managers in the league.
A 2016 report on racial and gender diversity by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport noted that Latino players made up 28.5% of 25-man rosters on Opening Day 2016. That translates to about 214 players throughout the league.
African-American or black players made up 8.3% of Opening Day rosters this season.
MLB has in recent years made significant efforts to increase diversity in all aspects of the game. The league has invested heavily in youth baseball initiatives aimed to offer playing opportunities to more minority children who they hope will become lifelong fans of the game. The league hired recruiting firm Korn Ferry in 2015 to help bring in more women and minority candidates for baseball operations roles.
MLB has a version of the NFL's Rooney Rule, which requires at least one minority candidate to be interviewed for manager positions, but the rule can be skirted if a team decides to promote internally or has a single target in mind.
After the Brewers fired manager Ron Roenicke in 2015 and promoted Craig Counsell to the role of skipper, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred sent a memo to all teams reminding them to consider minority candidates.
Appearing on ESPN radio show Mike & Mike in 2015, Manfred addressed the need for a pipeline for developing minority candidates for top baseball jobs:
I think it starts with respect to entry-level jobs. We've been engaging with the clubs as they go through the fall and begin to rebuild front offices -- there's various people moving around and get promoted -- that there needs to be significant minority representation at entry-level jobs. And the reason I think those entry-level jobs are so important is it helps us build a pipeline of qualified diversity candidates -- male, female, African-American, Latino -- who are available to interview for top jobs. I don't think you can just start at the top.
For the 2016 season, there have been four minority general managers in the league: Jeff Luhnow with the Houston Astros; Dave Stewart with the Arizona Diamondbacks; Farhan Zaidi with the Los Angeles Dodgers; and Michael Hill with the Miami Marlins. None are Latino. Ruben AmaroJr., who is of Mexican-Cuban descent on his paternal side, was the general manager of the Phillies until the end of 2015. Amaro is currently the first base coach for the Boston Red Sox.
Arte Moreno, who is Mexican-American, of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, is the only minority with majority ownership of an MLB club.
Lindsey Adler is a sports reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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