Just the other day we saw Hank Aaron complaining about the kids on his lawn with their moving pictures and their home run balls. It turns out the Home Run King has quite a bit more on his mind. Namely, Aaron is depressed about the inherent irony of Jackie Robinson Day, which was just celebrated around all of Major League Baseball, because there's not that many African Americans in baseball anymore, you see.
"Every single day, even when I watch the Atlanta Braves, I say to myself, 'It's a shame that they have a coach and a player. That's all,' " said Aaron, referring to Terry Pendleton and Jason Heyward, respectively, as the only African-Americans involved with the former team of baseball's legitimate home run king.
Aaron has a legitimate point, of course, because the numbers don't lie: only 71 African Americans on Opening Day rosters in both leagues this year.
The Aaron quote above comes from this Terence Moore Fanhouse article, which is more than a littler over-the-top as the author spends an equal amount of time pointing out the fact that he's friends with Hank Aaron as he does actually trying to make his point. And his point is that Major League Baseball is run by a bunch of hypocrites who say they're trying to improve African American participation in the game, but doing very little to follow through with substantive action. While it might be easy to dismiss this Moore piece for its melodrama and overwrought rhetorical devices... I found myself agreeing him. Mostly because of facts like this:
They also mention after a sigh that they really are trying to bring African-Americans back to the game with their 21-year-old Reviving Baseball In Inner Cities (RBI) program. On MLB.com, for instance, it boasts that the game has given more than $30 million to the RBI program since its inception.
As for the truth, that's a bunt compared to a home run, especially when you contrast what baseball has done collectively during that stretch to build academies in Latin American and other foreign countries. The low-revenue San Diego Padres spent $8 million alone for a baseball academy in the Dominican Republic.
At the most basic level, this doesn't exactly make MLB look very good, and it also lends a lot of credence to Torii Hunter's remarks about "impostors," which, to be sure, are still utterly crazy and poorly-worded, but definitely contain a great deal of truth.
Thoughts on the issue, WoWies? I do believe this qualifies as my first writing on the human condition. Huzzah!