brian golden

Baseball’s Winter Meetings begin Sunday in San Diego.

Never mind the zip code.

There is a distinct chill in the air.

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred has a pile of problems on his hands and they’re all his own fault.

There hasn’t been a non-white general manager in Major League Baseball since Dave Stewart was fired in Arizona in 2014.

We just went through a round of new managers in the offseason and only one, Carlos Beltran with the New York Mets, was a minority.

The San Francisco Giants seemed to poke a thumb in the eye of MLB’s efforts to diversify its managers when Farhan Zaidi hired the failed Gabe Kapler.

Just how bad Kapler was with the Philadelphia Phillies will be made plain when Joe Girardi leads them to the National League East title in 2020.

Sitting on the Giants bench was bench coach Hensley Meulens, who was a finalist along with Aaron Boone for the Yankees job two years ago.

Meulens skippered The Netherlands to the World Baseball Classic Final Four in 2017.

He is actually Sir Hensley Meulens, since Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands knighted him.

Not surprisingly, Meulens left the Giants organization.

His absence will be felt.

How about the absence of major free agent signings as December enters its second week?

The last couple of free agency periods have been phlegmatic.

No one wants to say “collusion” aloud, since  some will immediately start blaming Vladimir Putin and the Ukrainians.

But it’s becoming more and more apparent that Manfred identifies the Commissionership as an employee of the owners, not the game.

His brain-dead effort to trim player development costs by nuking 42 minor league clubs has rightfully become a hornets nest.

JetHawks president Andy Dunn is headed to America’s Finest City with weapons sharpened. 

And he’s hardly the only one.

Congress, which agrees on nothing, has empaneled a bipartisan task force to confront MLB’s asinine scheme.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.), a Presidential candidate, has taken up the minor leagues’ cause.

The fact that the only Advanced Class A affiliate targeted for extinction, Lancaster, sits right in the middle of the Congressional District of  the man who may be the next Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (CA-23), confirms how clueless this whole thing is.

Manfred has needlessly picked fights with the MLB Players Association and Union chief Tony Clark.

Clark is one of the heroes of our game. 

He’s replaced the reflexive confrontational tone of predecessor Donald Fehr with a cooperative approach that makes the owners and players partners in growing the game.

And that, they certainly have done in a 22-year era of labor peace that has prompted the largest revenues in the game’s history.

Major League Baseball will risk its antitrust exemption the longer it insists on this draconian plan.

Perhaps Bernie Sanders can explain that to Commissioner Manfred this week.

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