Dave Dombrowski is what is still wrong with Major League Baseball.
Sadly, the sport is still stuck in the past and can’t help from always going back to the Good Ol’ Boys Network. When in doubt, hire someone that looks like you whether they’ve done a good job or not in the past.
That can be the only explanation for why Dombrowski is getting the keys to yet another franchise.
According to media reports, Dombrowski is finalizing a deal to take over baseball operations for the Philadelphia Phillies.
For sure, Dombrowski has had success in baseball as an executive, winning two championships in his long tenure in the game.
But Dombrowski, 64, had been fired in his last two stops: Boston and Detroit.
The Red Sox won a title, but the Tigers didn’t. In both places, Dombrowski spent a lot of money on players and left those organizations the same — with depleted farm systems and in financial ruins.
Yet, there’s another opportunity awaiting him with a big bow on the box.
This reeks of the Tony La Russa hire with the Chicago White Sox.
We get it. LaRussa is already in the Hall of Fame and won three World Series in his career.
But at 76, LaRussa is the new/old manager. This is his second stint with the White Sox. His first manager’s job was with them in 1979. Heck, disco was still on the radio.
Somehow, on planet Earth, there wasn’t anyone else to manage the White Sox, an exciting team with young players filled with huge potential and plenty of swag.
Worse, the White Sox still hired La Russa despite knowing he had a pending DUI. It’s a classic case of taking care of your own no matter what baggage they bring with them.
It’s not like there aren’t talented and capable Black managers out there.
What’s wrong with giving an opportunity again to Bo Porter and Ron Washington? Or even newcomer Marcus Thames, looking for his first managerial job.
The current most successful manager in the game is Dave Roberts, who led L.A. to a World Series title for the first time since 1988.
Where is the next Bob Watson, the first Black GM to put together a championship team? In 1996, Watson’s Yankees beat the Atlanta Braves and snapped New York’s 17-year championship drought. His success should have opened the door for other owners to step outside the box, take a chance on people of color. It didn’t really happen.
The last Black GM in baseball was Dave Stewart, who was fired by the Diamondbacks in 2016.
“To me, it’s getting worse,” Stewart told a member of the media a year ago about the dearth of opportunities for minorities in baseball. “It’s disgusting.
“No offense to anyone doing their job, but some guys leave one position to do a bad job, go to another job and do a bad job and keep getting hired.”
His quote is still relevant in the pending hiring of Dombrowski yet again.
For sure, no one wants that lame NFL Rooney Rule, where teams are required to interview minority candidates for head coaching and front office gigs.
It hasn’t worked. It’s viewed by many as just a token interview system. In an NFL that’s 70 percent Black, there are only two Black GMs. And there are only four Black head coaches, and one of them, the Texans’ Romeo Crennel, is interim.
Baseball should be better, too. It’s the league of Jackie Robinson, a man who changed life in America in 1947 when he took the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers, breaking MLB’s color barrier.
The Miami Marlins, for the most part, have gotten it right, spreading its net to give opportunities to all — not just white men. Former Yankees great Derek Jeter is part of the ownership group, and the Marlins’ CEO. And this offseason, the Marlins hired Kim Ng, the first woman to serve as general manager of a team in the Big Four leagues in North America.
After getting whacked in Boston, it appeared as if Dombrowski had given up on landing another executive gig. Reportedly, he had set his sights on putting together an investment group with the idea of bringing baseball to Nashville. But Philadelphia came to his rescue.
Shame on the Phillies. Instead of buying a new pair of slippers, it went back to the old ones — worn, torn with holes and about to fall apart.
That sums up Dombrowski. MLB has to break this bad habit.