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So I was reading Niteowl's article, he brought up an interesting point on the lack of blacks in baseball, (after all you can't spell black without lack </quick lame joke>) but instead of leaving a long ass comment on his article I decided to have a "spin-off" of some sort.
Every year around Jackie Day, some stats geek releases a report on the amount of black players in the MLB, its a flawed report seeing as they don't count Latinos with black heritage but nevertheless it makes conspiracy theorists cringe, noble people concerned, and me say "give me a break". The percentage of black American players has dropped to 8%, and many wonder what's going on. While some could cry prejudice in other fields, in this day in age as far as sports concerned if you can play you will play regardless of race or in some cases age. As an African-American and a baseball fan, I'm not concerned because in the end it will work itself out as I will explain later. There are plenty of reasons blacksare turned off from the nations pastime. I will now go into a couple.
1. Lack of Role Models- Michael Jordan, Penny Hardaway, Allen Iverson, and previously Michael Vick. Those were my sports idols, I watched every game I could, I always played as them in video games and I have almost every home, away, alternate and throwback jersey. When you look at baseball there is that lack of a black superstar. There's Barry but he isn't exactly shown as a role model, but maybe that will change. You look at the game you have players like Ryan Howard, Delmon Young, Justin Upton they have the potential to be great. You show them on TV enough kids are going to grab a bat and want to be like them, but they don't get that exposure. You turn on the TV and you see a bunch of white players and the typical black child doesn't see someone he could emulate. Hell you look in the crowd, seeing a black person is like finding Waldo even in packed ass Fenway.
2. Convience Factor- Youth baseball is one of the more expensive sports, between uniforms, cleats, bats, gloves, balls, Tide detergent it could be a hassle. Look at youth basketball all you need is some shorts and sneakers. It's cheap, it's convenient, it keeps your child busy. Football is kind of expensive as well but it sort of contradicts the point I'm getting at so we're just going to leave that one alone. It doesn't take much to get a group of guys to play a pick up game of ball, to get a pick of game of baseball its much less convenient so basically more blacks are exposed to basketball more.
3. Lack of Peers- A lot of my friends don't like baseball, probably for the first two reasons I stated but I always did. But eventually it became a solo thing, no one wanted to just play for fun, I was on teams of kids I barely knew, no one wanted to watch the games with me prior to 2003, but really what ended my baseball career was in the 8th grade. I remember trying out for the JV team and I wanted to pitch, the coach kind of rolled his eyes when I told him that but he gave me all the paperwork I needed prior to trying out. So the morning of tryouts, and we was all stretching and I looked around and I just felt real out of place even though some of the kids were in my class I just didn't feel I belonged there. I made up some dumb excuse and just went home, never played organized baseball since.
4. Too Systematic- Unlike basketball when you basically score back and forth or football when you at least get to hit, baseball lacks that all around interest. I hated fielding, especially if nothing came my way I felt like I was just standing there which is why I wanted to pitch. I hated batting because none of the pitchers ever were that good so it was like i was always being unintentionally intentionally walked.
5. Hip Hop- Then again everything is hip hop's fault right. Hip Hop has become synonymous with basketball, rappers are in videos dressed like basketball players, basketball players are on TV dressed like rappers. As for baseball, there is no sort of love for hip hop. I play MLB 08 with the music off because all the songs suck and NBA Live's soundtrack sounds like a mixtape. Even though most rappers wear baseball caps but once again if it contradicts my point it shall be omitted.
Will things change, will the NBA continue to fall off leaving inner city kids to go to the MLB where all the money is at. Or will things take a turn for the worse and I'm going to have to brainwash my future kids into playing baseball, only time will tell. But regardless what happens I don't care because I see no problems. I know personally that since the Red Sox won, a lot of blacks here suddenly love baseball, maybe if the Yankees, Phillies, Dodgers umm not the Rockies and lets say the Cubs win then more blacks will
hop on the bandwagon like baseball too. If not, football will always unite races alike until they release a report on the lack of latinos in the NFL...