“One Man’s Opinion” by Gordon Curvey
I am a sports fan. I grew up watching football, basketball and baseball. I loved to watch all three sports. But though the years my love for the sport of baseball has went downhill. And I will explain to you why I feel this way readers.
In the 70s, 80s and 90s and even early in the decade of 2000, the amount of African Americans playing Major League Baseball has decreased big big time. Back in the day MLB had Reggie Jackson, George Foster, Ken Griffey Jr, Joe Morgan, Andre Dawson, Ricky Henderson, Dave Parker, Vida Blue, Frank Robinson, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Chris Chambliss, Lou Brock, big Willie McCovey, Willie Stargell, and on and on and on. Now there are very few African American stars playing.
The question is why? What is going on now is young African American kids are turning to football and basketball by age 12 or 13 or 14. These are facts. If you don’t think I am right go check out a high school baseball game in any major city in the US and look at who is playing on the teams. It is not young African American youth. It is white kids on the teams.
And the same for college teams. Basically all white college teams. Heck even the fans at MLB games are all white. Chris Rock in his great HBO piece called black baseball fans “a endangered species”. You can go to You Tube to watch Chris Rock’s piece on how white baseball has become on and off the field in his opinion. I agree with Rock’s opinion.
Some say baseball like golf is a game for rich. And this may turn away African American athletes and spectators. Check this out readers and it is shocking to me as a sports fan. The Boston Red Sox in 2016 had Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., David Price and Chris Young on it’s roster. The most African Americans on any team in baseball. To me this is a problem.
Only 8% of MLB is African American in 2016. The amount of African Americans playing in MLB has dropped nearly 10% in the last 30 years. In 1986 for instance, MLB was 18.3% African American. Young inner city African American kids do not see the few African American players that star in MLB on TV doing commercials like NBA/NFL players. Young black kids turn on TV and see KD, CP3, D-Wade, Melo, Shaq, Barkley, Blake Griffin, Damian Lillard, James Harden, Lebron, Russell Westbrook, Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman, Paul George, Anthony Davis, DeAndre Jordan, Cam Newton and Curry and more doing commercials.
I cannot see one MLB player doing commercials for Buick or Burger King of McDonalds or Microsoft or Wendys or Nike or Under Armour etc. The question is why? I see this as a problem but is obvious MLB management does not give a damn. There marketing SUCKS!!! Baseball thinks we are in 1948. This is 2016. The NFL and NBA has reached the “hip-hop generation”. Baseball STILL has the “corny” 7th inning stretch where the corny “America The Beautiful” is played.
When you watch a game on TV, for instance a game here in Seattle at Safeco Field, the Root TV camera ALWAYS point to a white kid and dad in the stands. The kid has his glove and is having a hot dog or cotton candy. Well readers Root TV does not show a African American family for one reason. WE ARE NOT THERE!!
Baseball has shown the African American community they do not care about us. Unlike the NBA and NFL. This is truly truly sad. I am shocked that MLB obtains the crowds they get year after year. It is beyond me how this happens but it does year after year.
Personalities? MLB players do not have that. One that did is retired. His name was “Big Papi” David Ortiz. Of course Ortiz is not African American but he is a person of color. Listening or watching a interview with a baseball player is like watching a house being painted and watching it dry. BORING BORING BORING!! NBA and NFL players have personalities. This is why they do marketing of products of businesses all over the nation and even the world. Heck a player with Toronto got blasted for flipping his bat after hitting a homer.
One dude said the player “disrespected the game” SAY WHAT? Give me a break readers!! A player “disrespected the game of baseball because he had the nerve to flip his bat after hitting a game winning home run. That is crazy!!
Young inner city African American kids cannot name ONE member of the champs Chicago Cubs. Heck they can barely name any MLB player. But a 12 or 13 or 14 year old black kid can tell you what school Curry went to or Lebron’s scoring average or how many rebounds Dwight Howard is getting a game. Or how many yards Shady MaCoy out last game or did Sherman obtain a interception last game.
Baseball has to do something to make the game quicker. More hip. They have to realize this is 2016 not 1948 if they want to attract young African Americans youth again. Grab the hip-hop generation like the NBA and NFL does. Have Wiz or Lil Wayne or Drake or Beyonce or Rihanna do some commercials for MLB. Or Wale or Usher or another hip-hop or r&b or pop performer. Not a country or rock performer ladies and gentlemen.
The game of baseball has turned into something like a college fraternity. Or the Republican Party. Very few African Americans in sight. Due to baseball and yes golf being kind of a “rich game” sort of speak, it might be why young black kids head to the gym or nearby park and shoot hoops. Basketball is more accessible in urban area of America also. Young kids grow up wanting the latest Jordan sneakers.
Also something important is this. Along with football, basketball can offer if you are good enough full college scholarships. Baseball players in college do not offer full rides. These are facts folks. Most black kids are not born with a “silver spoon” in their mouths” like a lot of white kids.
Does MLB care about the declining amount of African American players? Do they care about the all white crowds going to games? By the way the Mariners just traded young Mr. Walker and now the team has a grand total of ZERO African American players as of now. Man….the only African American with the parent team is my friend Mariner broadcaster Dave Sims. No African American players, no African Americans in the front office and no African Americans with the AAA team in Tacoma. Something is wrong. The team drafted a young brotha as their #1 draft choice but we do not know when he make it to the pros.
Finally, baseball is HUGE in the Caribbean and Latin culture which is just not happening here in America. Young kids in those countries will do anything to learn and play the game. They use branches of of trees as bats or roll up paper or other materials to use as the baseball to play a game. Cubans will risk everything by getting on a terribly built so called boat to leave Cuba for the US to play the game they love and make money if they are good. Which a lot of them are.
The management of baseball needs to stop the image of white supremacy when it comes to the sport. Young black kids in the inner city need more than some weak RBI League and the Reviving Of Baseball In Inner Cities programs. It is great that 16% of the players drafted in the baseball draft in 2016 were African American.
As a sports fan I want to more than 69 African American players on major league rosters out of 862 that were on Opening Day rosters. 69 African American players on the opening of the baseball season in 2016 is depressing as a sports fan. I hope these numbers will go up quickly. Because as of now I do not see MLB trying hard enough to attract young African American kids. I will be doing more stories on this topic soon.
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