Carleton/Morrison: MLB’s ongoing search for front-office diversity

From Russell Carleton and Kate Morrison at Baseball Prospectus on November 22, 2016:

Last week, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported that Major League Baseball is no longer working with executive search firm Korn Ferry, whom the league had retained a little more than a year ago to help teams identify racial and ethnic minorities to fill front office vacancies. When Korn Ferry was hired, there was a growing concern internally that nearly all of the top executives in the game were white, and MLB wanted to do something about it.

To bolster their efforts, MLB created an internal Diversity Pipeline Initiative, headed by former Pirates director of baseball personnel Tyrone Brooks. In the past year, though, several general managers have been politely excused from their duties and have been replaced, mostly by 30-something, statistically-savvy Caucasian guys who used to work for the Cleveland Indians.

We are fully aware that the question of whether striving for racial and ethnic diversity in the front office is a very charged one. There will be readers out there who believe that increasing diversity itself is a laudable goal. There are those who will wonder why MLB is even concerned about the idea at all. There will be those who think that no matter what happens in the back rooms, whatever happens on the field is most important. Everyone breathe for a moment.

Earlier this year, we took a look at where front office workers come from by the numbers. If you only have time for this one article today, let us, as Inigo Montoya would say, “sum up.” The vast majority of full-time front office employees come from internships, whether or not those internships were with the team that is their future full-time employer. Those internships are currently filled by a process that disproportionately favors top-tier collegiate seniors or graduates who can afford to move to another city and work for free, which then means that down the line, those executive positions are filled by a disproportionate number of top-tier college graduates who now have the connections to stay in baseball for the rest of their working lives. Nightengale pointed out that, despite Korn Ferry’s involvement this year, it seemed like most of the hiring going on was friends hiring friends.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: November 22, 2016. Last Updated: November 22, 2016.