Grade A Certified

Colorless Diamond – by Matt White

Posted by Mr. Put On on August 18, 2009

Well the MLB trade deadline has come and gone but a bigger question still lingers?? Where has the color gone on the diamond?

It’s a pretty well known fact to any one that speaks English that the only thing more American than apple pie is it’s past time… Baseball!! From the world series to little league baseball is a pretty universally accepted an respected sport for all ages and races.

Well now at least. After Jackie Robinson step up to the plate and broke the color barrier African americans were dominate in baseball and hold many records in the sport today. But as of late there are fewer and fewer African Americans playing the game of baseball? According to recent study of MLB rosters, African-Americans make up just 8.2% of the total player population.

That alarming percentage begs one question…. Where have the black players gone?? Just a few years ago former all-stars Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey Jr., David Justice & Kenny Lofton were scattered all over the league. Now there are just a handful of African – American all stars left to carry the legacy started by Jackie Robinson.

In an attempt to attract young minorites to the game of baseball Major League Baseball has started a Civil Rights game.  The first one played in Memphis, Tenn., the city Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assasinated. They also sponsor two NCAA games pitting HBCUs vs. Larger D-I schools. Due to Title IX however a lot of HBCUs don’t field their own baseball team and the ones that due have rosters of mostly white & Hispanic players.

One possible explanation in declining participation of blacks in baseball is the growing cost of equipment and the lack of space. Gone are the days of playing stick ball out in the streets. Kids need gloves, balls, cleats, bats and a field to play on. In these turbulent financial times very few minority families can afford the needed equipment or have the time to travel to fields. Where as opposed to a other sports where all that is needed is a ball and sneakers.

Some also say the “MTV” generations lack of an attention span make it hard for kids to enjoy a 9 inning game of baseball. When compared to the action packed game of football and basketball, baseball can be viewed as slow or not exciting.

We all know it’s not about the money. On average baseball players make more money in the US than any other sport, internationally soccer is king but we are referring to Americas past time here!

Currently the MLB is investing in baseball academies in an effort to promote and develop American born minorities to continue the legacy that Satchel Paige and Jackie Robinson fought so hard to earn.

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