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Rumors and Rumblings | MLB competition committee lacks diversity

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 01: Chicago Cubs' president of baseball operations Theo Epstein looks on before game 6 of the 2016 World Series between the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians on November 1, 2016, at Progressive Field in Cleveland, OH. Chicago defeated Cleveland 9-3. (Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire).
Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire

Major League Baseball announced the composition of its reconstituted competition committee on Thursday, and it includes a variety of well-regarded baseball people.

Among them are a principal owner (the Washington Nationals’ Mark Lerner), a team chairman (the Boston Red Sox’s Tom Werner), a managing partner (the Texas Rangers’ Ray Davis) and three team presidents (the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Frank Coonelly, the Miami Marlins’ David Samson and the Toronto Blue Jays’ Mark Shapiro).

There are also two presidents of baseball operations (the Cleveland Indians’ Chris Antonetti and the Chicago Cubs’ Theo Epstein), two general managers (the New York Mets’ Sandy Alderson and the Seattle Mariners’ Jerry Dipoto) along with four managers (the New York Yankees’ Joe Girardi, the St. Louis Cardinals’ Mike Matheny, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Dave Roberts and the Baltimore Orioles’ Buck Show alter).

Rounding out the list are Hall of Fame players Roberto Alomar and John Smoltz.

However, no active players are part of the committee. Neither is anyone in their 30s or younger. Nor are there any women.

In fact, just two minorities are represented — Roberts is part African-American and part Japanese while Alomar is Puerto Rican.

“Here’s the thing I don’t get,” said a player from a National League team who asked for anonymity. “Major League Baseball keeps saying it needs to connect with young fans, needs changes that will make younger kids want to come out to the ballpark and get interested in the sport.

“Yet they never put any current players on any of these committees or even younger executives. Guys in their 50s and 60s have no clue what kids or teenagers or college-age kids are interested in. They need some young blood on these committees. They need some new perspective.”

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The Marlins came into the season hoping to challenge the Nationals and Mets in the NL East despite the death of ace right-hander Jose Fernandez in a boating accident late last season.

However, the Marlins are off to a dreadful start. A scout from an American League team who has watched the Marlins believes they haven’t gotten over Fernandez’s death and are also distracted by owner Jeffrey Loria being in the process of selling the team.

“They just look lifeless,” the scout said. “They’ve had injuries, and that’s had an effect, but they just aren’t playing good baseball. They’re sluggish, like they are always a step behind, like they are playing in quicksand.”

Many people in baseball are interested to see what changes will be made once the team is sold.

“The new owners could go in any different number of directions,” an executive from an NL team said. “You can make a case that they should blow it up and start all over again, but they have a very talented outfield to build a team around.

“You feel for everybody there now. You had the Jose thing and now you have the sale looming over everyone’s heads. No one knows if their job will be safe when the team changes hands. It can’t be much fun.”

February 13, 2015 Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria and MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred during the announcement that Miami Marlins to Host 2017 All-Star Game (Juan Salas/Icon Sportswire)

(Juan Salas/Icon Sportswire)

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It isn’t fair to pigeonhole Texas Rangers third baseman Joey Gallo just yet, as he is just 23 years old.

The hulking left-handed hitting slugger has the unusual triple slash line of .187/.306/.500 in 42 games while subbing for the injured Adrian Beltre. While Gallo has 12 home runs, he has also struck out a whopping 61 times in just 134 at-bats.

Even in an era of all-or-nothing hitters, he takes things to the extreme. However, a scout from an AL team sees enough rays of hope to believe Gallo’s lack of plate discipline won’t keep him from being a successful player.

“I see getting him a tiny bit better when it comes to swinging at bad pitches, and the kid has the work ethic to want to get better,” the scout said. “Maybe I’m blinded by that power but I’d take him if the Rangers don’t want him.”

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David Ross has been quite busy since retiring from the Cubs last fall after helping them win their first World Series since 1908.

Ross, who spent 15 years a catcher in the major leagues, made his debut Wednesday night as a game analysts on ESPN’s telecast of the Red Sox-Cardinals game. Next Monday night, he will be one of three finalists on ABC’s “Dancing With The Stars.”

It seems as though Ross is challenging Bob Uecker as the most famous backup catcher ever. Uecker, now a Milwaukee Brewers’ broadcaster, starred in movies and on television following his nondescript playing career and also filled in numerous times for host Johnny Carson on the “Tonight Show.”

“I’ll give David Ross credit for this, he has gone on “Dancing With The Stars” and done well,” Uecker said with a laugh. “I’ve spent a lifetime making a fool of myself but even I wouldn’t have gone on “Dancing With The Stars.” That took some guts right there.”

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