NEW YORK--While some say that this year’s MLB All-Star rosters have a little bit of everything, some critics are pointing out that the rosters for both the American and National League teams contain one glaring and embarrassing omission: women. According to a recent survey by Katherine Phillips of Columbia University, not a single one of the total 68 players invited to the All-Star game is female.
“In our research regarding the 2017 MLB All-Star rosters, we’ve found that out of 68 players, there are zero women,” said Phillips, a researcher who has studied the effects of diversity on group dynamics. “Furthermore the ballots themselves contained zero women. It is alarming but not surprising. There has never been a woman on a Major League Baseball All-Star ballot, and it looks like the boy’s club mentality remains in full effect here. And it's not like they didn't have the opportunity. I mean, there are those relief pitchers on the roster who only pitch to lefty’s, right? A woman could do that.”
According to Phillips, groups that have robust gender diversity dynamics perform better in problem-solving exercises.
“Generally the presence of someone of a different gender, race, or religious affiliation in a group causes the rest of the group to be more open and receptive to ideas that would normally seem foreign to them,” Phillips said. “Accordingly, a baseball team with a woman playing, say, third base might entertain some innovative new ways of getting a runner out at first, like, for example, passive-aggressively guilting him into running back to the dugout.”
Phillips isn’t the only one. Marianne Cooper, a sociologist at the Clayman Institute for Gender Research, called the lack of women on the 2017 All-Star roster “outrageous.”
“It is completely outrageous that there are no women on these two teams,” Cooper said. “It is 2017, there are women in boardrooms, there are women in the White House, and there are women in front offices of sports leagues. But the 2017 MLB All-Star roster is a goddamn sausage-fest. And its not like there are no women to choose from. I have a cousin who's built like a brick shithouse. Surely she could play catcher for one of these teams.”
In 2016, commissioner Rob Manfred vowed to make Major League Baseball “a national leader in diversity and inclusion.” While his statements were welcome, his actions have fallen far short.
“It looks so far like Commissioner Manfred’s words were merely lip service,” said Mary Johnson, editor of Bizwomen.com. “There are only a few women in baseball front offices, and these All-Star ballots are a disgrace. Just look at these names. Aaron Judge: male. Clayton Kershaw: male. Justin Smoak: male. Yu Darvish….probably male. The list goes on. Meanwhile, there are guys in my Reiki class. Can someone please explain that?”
In response, MLB has suggested that people are focused too much with “identity politics” and not enough on the product on the field. One unnamed front office executive told the New York Times, “we’re not going to play the gender identity card, that’s not what this is about. What it’s about is the product we roll out to the American public every night and the quality of the game-play. I happen to think this is one of the best All Star teams ever. The talent is outstanding. What they have between their legs is immaterial, although we recommend cups or jock straps.”
Players on the team were reluctant to criticize the league’s selection criteria, though some did acknowledge the elephant in the room.
“You know it's not something I ever noticed until someone pointed it out to me,” said Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper. “But it's true. Let's see.....yep, no women. The good thing is, we have a lot of diversity in other areas. Like, we have a bunch of guys from other countries, we have a couple African-Americans, and we have a whole bunch of white dudes with totally different first names! Listen to this: Justin, Aaron, Mike, Corey, Jake, Corey, Cody, Josh, Brad, Corey, Justin...what an eclectic group!”
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