Baseball is not so much a white man’s game as it is a non-American-black man’s game.
If you had flipped on a typical baseball game during the 2021 season, you would have likely seen whites, hispanic blacks, hispanic whites and a smattering of asians and American blacks. Most of the black guys you see on a professional baseball diamond have last names like Pujols or Devers or Guerrero instead of Robinson.
The MLB is painfully aware of this “shortfall” of American blacks; an uncomfortable arrangement slightly muted by the presence of foreign blacks and hispanics and asians. Baseball is not racist but it does not attract the African-American cultural archetype which, in today’s book is tantamount to KKK-level racism.
Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association are donating $10 million to The Players Alliance to help make the sport more accessible to Black communities across the United States, the league announced.
The Players Alliance, which is made up of more than 100 current and former Black professional baseball players, will receive the money over five years for baseball equipment for Black groups in need across the U.S., as well as a player-led mentorship program and a program to recruit Black students to internships in the sport, among other initiatives.
“MLB and the union have rolled out programs historically, and some have been great and some have obviously needed to have a little bit of assistance to them,” The Players Alliance president Curtis Granderson said, according to James Wagner of The New York Times.
He added: “We, as the players – the market you have been targeting – some of us have gone through these programs or have started very similar programs, so we can be a great resource to take the programs that are already good and make them better, or introduce some new ones.”
Granderson also said The Players Alliance had no money in its bank account before this recent donation.
There were only 67 Black players, two managers, two heads of baseball operations, and one club president to start the 2020 MLB season.
The dearth of American blacks in baseball is an artifact of that culture’s social mores and priorities. Baseball has lost its luster with American black culture which has simultaneously embraced glorification and kinship with American ghetto culture.
The decline of African Americans in baseball is an ongoing issue. Just 7% of the players on opening day rosters in Major League Baseball this season were African American, down from a high of 18.7% in 1981, according to the Society of American Baseball Research. Black people currently make up 13.4% of the population, according to U.S. Census Bureau stats.
The NBA and NFL, redolent with urban misfit mentality, are to the go-to romanticized vehicles of athletic thuggery. The MLB, not so much, but MLB easily finds other groups of color to fill the void.
I was disappointed to hear Dusty Baker sound like a whiny racialist as he put the cart before the horse when it comes to racial cause and effect.
“Everybody has written about it, but they haven’t done a damn thing about it,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said in a phone interview.
What are we supposed to do which black culture can’t do on its own with an iota of honest self-appraisal? American blacks are surely capable of being represented in MLB if they transferred the same focus which they do toward the NBA and NFL where they are massively over-represented. American black athleticism is not a barrier and MLB front offices, regardless of racial agenda, worship money more than any pet bigotries.
The only way to lure American blacks to baseball is to address their deeper racial and cultural biases. MLB doesn’t need to be fixed.