Twins restore their colorless coaching tradition

AnotherViewsquareThe Minnesota Twins, by its recent anti-diversity sweep, keeps its “Whitest team in the Twin Cities” status intact.

First Base Coach Butch Davis was fired last week — the old “contract not renewed” line was used. Davis, who was named to the staff in December 2014, was the team’s only Black coach. The Twins, the Minnesota Wild, and the St. Paul Saints remain the only teams in town, college or pro, without a single Black person on their coaching staffs.

It’s widely expected that, due to the sport’s nature, hockey would lack diversity, and the Saints are a minor league club. But the Twins are in the major leagues, and baseball supposedly is the all-American sport.

Fired First Base Coach Butch Davis
Fired First Base Coach Butch Davis (Charles Hallman/MSR News)

But it’s debatable what America the Twins really subscribe to as far as diversity is concerned, especially in keeping its pre-Jackie Robinson makeup on the field — and now on the coaching staff as well, which seems to trouble no one locally save this columnist.

During our 16 years of covering the team, the Twins have had only three Black coaches: Al Newman, Jerry White and Butch Davis. All three at season’s end seemed to get the scapegoat ax due to the team’s misfortunes while White coaches stay in place. Although Davis and Hitting Coach Tom Brunansky last week both got the “ziggy” courtesy of newly hired GM Thad Levine, the rest of the coaching staff — Manager Paul Monitor and the other five coaches, all of whom helped guide Minnesota to a 100-plus losing season in 2016 — still have ballpark office space.

We asked Twins owner Jim Pohlad earlier this season about his commitment to diversity. His face turned whiter than a sheet as he searched for a sound-bite response. It’s not the first time he has acted like he was literally hit broadside with our diversity question.

Daydreaming aside, it would be very refreshing if just once Pohlad, a Twins executive, or any other local team exec for that matter could respond to our questions like Jack Nicholson did with Tom Cruise in A Few Good Men (1992):

Team exec: “You want answers?” Me: “I think I’m entitled.”

Team exec: “You want answers?” Me: “I want the truth!”

Team exec: “You can’t handle the truth!”

Truth rather than diversity fiction, a real dialogue on diversity as opposed to the typical well-worn answers, now that would be uncharacteristically rare and truly welcomed.

Whether it’s a player or two, or in Davis’ case a coach, the Twins never fail to wash any sort of color out of their organizational hair. At best they resort to their statistical tokenism approach to diversity: one Black coach at a time.


Gopher volleyball adds more color

Hopkins senior Jasmyn Martin and Stephanie Samedy (Clemont, Fla.) are two of six recruits who last week signed national letters of intent to play volleyball next season at Minnesota.

Martin, a 6’-3” outside hitter highly ranked by scouts, will graduate from Hopkins in December and enroll at Minnesota in January. She plans to study business.

The 6’-2” Samedy, a right side hitter, plays for East Ridge (Fla.) High School, is a four-year honor roll student and a two-time Central Florida volleyball athlete of the year.

Martin and Samedy will join current Gophers Kayla Buford, Alexis Hart and Taylor Morgan next season as the team’s only Blacks.


Globe-tracking the Lynx

Three Lynx players helped their clubs to recent victories: Sylvia Fowles scored 25 points in 31 minutes for Beijing. Natasha Howard in South Korea posted a double-double (19 points, 11 rebounds) for Samsung Blux Minx. Anna Cruz had 10 points for Dynamo Kursk in Russia.


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