In the wake of Houston hiring a new GM and giving Phil Garner a long term contract without interviewing minority applicants for either position, The Houston Chronicle’s John Lopez raises the question of the team’s ethnic makeup.
For all the Astros have done right under owner Drayton McLane, they rate among the worst teams in the game at keeping the diversity promise.
Keep in mind, too, that the Astros represent one of the most diverse cities in professional sports, a city whose Hispanic population alone is roughly the same as that of entire cities like San Antonio and Indianapolis.
Among the highest-ranking members of the Astros’ front office, not one is a person of color. Time and again the Astros have fallen short.
It has not been because of underlying racism within the organization. No one realizes the obligation more than McLane. And Smith points out the Astros have long tried to develop minority players, coaches and front-office staff.
Still, what fans and the commissioner notice are things like the honest recklessness the club has repeatedly shown when it comes to diversity and sensitivity to the fan base.
Things like allowing players like Bobby Abreu, Moises Alou and Richard Hidalgo to leave. Things like moving Daryle Ward and Brian Hunter, leaving the Astros without a single African-American player on the roster. Things like acting hastily in the case of Julio Lugo.
Things like hiring managers Terry Collins and Larry Dierker despite neither’s having experience. Yet when a candidate like Tony PeÃ±a came along, the reason offered for not hiring him was that he was inexperienced as a manager.
Another example: Years ago, a Hispanic sportswriter arrived late at the Astros’ training camp facility in Kissimmee, Fla. A mid-level Astros executive kidded, “What, are you on Mexican time?”