Study: Major League Baseball improving in minority hiring

A diversity report released Thursday on Major League Baseball finds the sport is showing improvement with its racial and hiring gender practices, particularly at the league's central office.

The report card from The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) at Central Florida finds a "significant" increase in racial hiring practices and a "slight" increase in gender hiring. The grade for racial hiring was a B-plus with 88 points, up six points from a year earlier. The grade for gender hiring was a C with 71 points, up one point.

The combined score of 79, with a grade of C-plus/B-minus, was up three points.

"In overall score, it's trending well," said Richard Lapchick, the institute's director and the lead report author. "But I think when we look at gender, if you had a child that in high school came home with a C, you'd probably talk to them about raising that grade. You'd be happy with a B-plus, but you probably wouldn't be as happy with a C.

"So trending well means there's still a substantial way to go, particularly in gender hiring practices."

The report examined data collected by the MLB central office and sent to the TIDES research team, which examined data as of Dec. 31 and then updated listings of owners, general managers and managers as of April 1.

It comes days after MLB said the percentage of black players from the United States and Canada on opening day active rosters rose to 8.4 percent, its highest level since at least 2012. The increase was attributed at least partly to efforts to increase baseball youth participation with programs that include Urban Youth Academies and Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities.

The TIDES report card highlighted the league headquarters in New York City, which received an A-plus for racial hiring (up from A-minus) and a C for gender hiring (up from a C-minus).

The report found that people of color made up 33.8 percent of the central office's professional staff while women represented 31.8 percent. It also found 17 people of color and 25 women holding positions of vice president or higher at the commissioner's office, MLB Advanced Media and the MLB Network.

Lapchick cited diversity initiatives as a factor.

"If the teams replicated what the league is doing in their central offices, we'd be way ahead in this," Lapchick said.

Teams received a B-plus for racial hiring at senior and professional administration levels but only a C-minus for gender hiring in those areas. Teams received a C-minus for both managers and general managers, with the study reporting four people of color in each of those categories.

"If (teams) are to reach the Major League Baseball central offices, which I think should be their goal, then a lot more work has to be done," Lapchick said. "There are diversity initiatives that are really extensive and I think are going to have a long-term impact. But when you have so many positions out there and the turnover in those positions isn't so great because people tend to like to work in sports, it's harder to move the numbers."

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Online: http://tidesport.org/

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Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap . More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

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