World Series To Feature Many African Americans; MLB Totally, Uh Yeah, Planned It That Way

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Remember the 2005 NL Champion Astros? No black guys. Remember last year's NL Champion Colorado Rockies? They only had one black guy. And that was LaTroy Hawkins and he's terrible. You ever heard of Major League Baseball? Well, only 8% of their players are black guys. The African American Player Exodus (what's the opposite of White Flight?) continues from MLB, but the league will put on a diverse face in this year's World Series. As the LA Times Points out today, the Phillies and Rays have star black players, and the league is super stoked that serendipity has achieved something that 20 years of work hasn't been able to.

This series features such stars as Rollins, the most valuable player in the National League last season; the Phillies' Ryan Howard, the 2006 MVP and this year's major league home run leader; and the Rays' B.J. Upton, who needs one home run to tie the postseason record.

Price, the top pick in last year's baseball draft, secured the outs that clinched the Rays' spot in the World Series.

"You can't buy better exposure than that," said Darrell Miller, director of baseball's first urban youth academy, located at Compton College.

"We can say all we want about the great opportunity, but it speaks volumes when they can see young, vibrant superstars showing their successes and skills on prime-time TV, on the biggest stage baseball has to offer."

This is a new generation of players -- Rollins is 29, Howard 28, Upton 24, Price 23 -- to inspire a new generation of African American athletes to take up the sport.

"I'm delighted," Commissioner Bud Selig said. "To have young role models -- they're great kids and great citizens as well as extraordinary players -- does it help? In a huge way."

Despite taking vocal cues from Donald Rumsfeld (Rhetorical question? Immediate answer.), Bud's statement hints at the turbulent career of baseball's all time biggest black star, Barry Bonds. Shoddy and inconsistent treatment of Bonds hasn't helped baseball's profile among black youth.

Quoted above, Darrell Miller is the founder of RBI, the inner city baseball program that Harold Reynolds is always on about in those United Way commercials. He's an interesting person to interview because of his experience, but isn't the existence of this article proof that his program hasn't worked that well? Maybe his new intern, Keanu can help.


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5 Comments

Although I agree that the treatment of Bonds (though largely justified) was, for some, a convenient proxy for some really hateful impulses, I cannot believe that the issue has had even the slightest, most microscopic influence on the size or significance of the critical mass of African American baseball talent.

Now, I would guess that Bonds' treatment could have an influence on viewership/attendance by black fans, or that we will see an effect on talent years from now, but do we really think that a high school prospect or A-ball kid either left the game or had his talent/desire eroded by that circus?

The lack of (American) black players in baseball is definitely worthy of our attention, not because of how it affects MLB (because, besides MLB, who really cares?), but because the likely causes are things that affect young city kids on a much broader basis.

Gorge,

I think the Bonds idea speaks more to the perception of baseball by black youths. The player decline was already in place, and that may have dimmed already poor prospects for the game among those kids.

(what's the opposite of White Flight?)

Gentrification.

Donald Rumsfeld is just a doddering old ne...white person.

That last part was bullshit. We all know RBI was founded by Tengen and Nintendo.

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