Baseball Loses Allure for African-Americans

Terry Foster, Detroit News, August 30, 2011

{snip}

Interest in playing and watching baseball has seen an alarming decline in African-American communities. Experts blame the economy, the decline of the African-American family structure, the sparse marketing of current players and even video games.

The result is evident on every Major League Baseball team including the Tigers, where center fielder Austin Jackson and newly acquired Delmon Young are the only black players.

Only 8.5 percent of Major League players are African-American. That’s down from 10 percent in 2010 and the lowest number since 2007, according to Richard Lapchick’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports at the University of Central Florida.

In 1997, during the 50-year anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking baseball’s color barrier, league rosters were 17 percent African-American.

{snip}

One shining light is MLB’s Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program, which began 22 years ago. More than 1 million youths across the country have gone through the program, including 171,000 in 2010. MLB teams have drafted 171 RBI players, including Carl Crawford, Dontrelle Willis and Justin Upton.

About 47 percent of participants are African-American. {snip}

“It’s not just a problem; it’s a crisis,” New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia told the Associated Press about the lack of blacks in baseball.

{snip}

Baseball experts say inner-city baseball has been hurt by the sluggish economy. The money just hasn’t been there to buy equipment. Sponsorships have declined. The Eagle Sports Club charges $45 per child, which includes the cost of the uniform, but also offers help to those who can’t afford it.

{snip}

But back in the 1940s, blacks did not feel comfortable going to games because white fans made it clear they weren’t welcome. Those that did attend often sat in the lower-deck bleachers at old Tiger Stadium and rarely took their sons or daughters.

That is one reason African-American attendance remains low.

Former Tigers center fielder Curtis Granderson, for instance, challenged his Yankees teammates to find more than 10-15 black fans in the stands.

“At first it starts off as a joke,” Granderson told the Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram. “So after a while it becomes: See, told you so.”

{snip}

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  • HH

    Strange – and still no one seems to find the fact that professional basketball is, for all intents and purposes, an almost entirely Black sport, even remotely “alarming” or a “crisis” of any kind. To say that Blacks are ludicrously over-represented, and Whites under-represented in the NBA is a gross understatement. And yet, somehow, the alarm bells just don’t go off.

    Double standard? Hypocrisy?? Nah, couldn’t be…

  • Question Diversity

    Not just the sluggish economy. Baseball just doesn’t appeal to black kids anymore, because it’s too slow, and not enough instant gratification. Basketball and football are far more to their liking.

    We’re now supposed to celebrate April 15 as a national holy day because of Jackie Robinson. However, Yahoo Sports, on the 60th anniversary (2007) of the Sacred Event, re-published some game accounts from the major city and national newspapers, and wire services. Jackie Robinson’s “integration” of the major leagues was (A) barely mentioned, and (B) mentioned at the bottom, of most of the articles. The New York Post referred to him as a “colored boy” — A wee lad of 28, for sure. Funny, for something so holy and sacred and ground-breaking, people didn’t see it at the time.

    Another funny in that regard — Last year, two members of the Los Angeles Angels, Torey Hunter (black American) and Vladimir Guerrero (black Dominican), couldn’t get along, because the former said that the latter wasn’t really black. To me, the two men look almost exactly the same, yet one says the other isn’t really black. How does that work?

  • Detroit WASP

    NPR did a story on this as well. They actually acted as if this is some sort of “problem” to be solved.

    They never mentioned that 98% of the starting line-up of the NBA is black and we need to solve it by recruiting more black players.

  • Mike Harrigan

    “Interest in playing and watching baseball has seen an alarming decline in African-American communities.”

    Interest in playing is obviously down. My guess is that baseball doesnt have the “thug allure” that basketball and footbrawl have for black athletes. MLB has not (YET??) lowered their standards to the nfl or nba level.

    But interest in WATCHING baseball is in decline as well? Just when did blacks show an interest in watching baseball? When I played in Little League we would go to Cincinnati to play black teams on their turf. There were probably 1/3 as many black parents there watching as there were White parents watching our all White team. And you could see there was little interest among them in the game. They were busy being noisy and rowdy in the stands….By the way, we regularly beat the black teams. Though there was some grumbling about the umpire being biased, there was never any violence. This was in the early 70’s.

    If you go to a major league game you will witness the same thing. Look around the stands at the fans. The total number of blacks at an average MLB game couldnt possibly be 1 percent, IMO.

  • Peejay in Frisco

    So it is a crisis that baseball is only 8.5 % black. Why is it not is a crisis that basketball is only less than 15% white? African American attendance is low. In ALL sports. There a caste of black multimillionaires in the USA because so many White Folks pay much moolah to see athletes compete against each other, and blacks constantly whine about how “Po and Oppressed they is.”

  • Anonymous

    “Experts blame…”

    Those two words are wrong already. Why is this development something which requires “blame”? It’s a free country, and black people can either care about baseball or not.

  • Anonymous

    “Former Tigers center fielder Curtis Granderson, for instance, challenged his Yankees teammates to find more than 10-15 black fans in the stands.”

    If there were 1000-1500 blacks in the stands, you might find that there were suddenly 5000 fewer whites in the stands, who don’t want the grief.

  • daniel

    Jackie Robinson did not break the color barrier, the white owner of the team did. Why doesn’t baseball honor the founder of the game, is it because he was white? I’m sure some black will get the feds to sue an owner because he didn’t make the team, or get that front office job, why? The owners are white.

  • Anonymous

    Perhaps baseball, in the final analysis, is not a sport that blacks are suited to watching. It’s a cerebral game that requires patience and respect for tradition. It’s not just “go go” action all the time.

  • Anonymous

    American blacks are still overrepresented when compared to the total number of AMERICAN born players. The study compares American blacks to all players, including foreign players. These foreign players are overwhelmingly black or mulatto.

  • Mr.White

    I no longer watch professional sports of any sort because of all the “diversity.” If it’s not some black thug, it’s a Mexican or other Latin American. I prefer my money not go to support such nonsense.

  • Abdul Kareema Wheat

    Look…who cares? Since Jackie Robinson blacks have dominated sports, rap, music and “entertainment”.

    Why can’t we remember the great white guys of those sports?

    Or how great music was in the 60’s? No rap then…but we had the Four Tops, Inkspots, Temptations, 5th Dimension and so many others.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve heard black underachievement/underrepresentation in many professions is because their aren’t enough role models. Never mind a good much of pro baseball is made up of Caribbean blacks and never mind the high number of blacks in the game’s history (and of course it’s expecting too much for inspiration to cross races). Just thinking off the top of my head, there is Curtis Granderson, Jimmy Rollins, Marlon Byrd, Brandon Phillips, Carl Crawford, Prince Fielder, Torii Hunter, Juan Pierre, Jason Heyward and Rickie Weeks. They’re all seem to play the game with enthusiasm, are grateful to make a very good living by laying a sport, are nice and personable and are or were very good players and are still playing every day today. And I don’t even know about the personalities of the Upton brothers, MVP candidate Matt Kemp or CC Sabathia. If blacks are less interested in baseball, I doubt it’s because of lack of role models; recall Jackie Robinson alone is at times credited with beginning the civil rights movement as it is known.

  • sbuffalonative

    If MLB has lost black attendees, it’s because MLB has stop requiting American blacks like Reggie Jacksons and Jackie Robinsons and have instead recruited Orlando Cabrera (Columbia) and Juan Encarnación (Dominican Republic) and many others.

  • June Warren

    The TRUTH is that baseball is the one sport that requires specific skills and athletic ability. At the professional level, athletic ability is simply not enough. It takes years and years for a young man to acquire the SKILLS of baseball.

    Blacks simply do not have the patience to put in the amount of time needed to learn how to play. I have to hand it to Michael Jordan for at least trying back when be played minor league in Birmingham. He had the athletic ability, but not the SKILLS. He never paid the dues necessary to acquire them.

  • Anonymous

    They’re blaming seating arrangements – in the 1940s! – for low black interest? How sad.

  • Sonofthesouth

    Baseball is a game passed down from father to son. Lots of tradition.

    My own dad started me out at age 4. Every day after work, we’d

    Play catch till dark. Not something you see very often in the american ghetto.

    The ghettos of latin america are different however. Maybe the fathers

    Participate more down there.

  • Anonymous

    Guess what Terry Foster, few few people care. Non-baseball fans don’t care; white baseball fans don’t care; blacks don’t care, hispanics don’t care; feminists don’t care; Indian immigrants don’t care. Newsers like you care, when there is nothing better to write articles about.

  • Anonymous

    Good. As soon as I brush up on my Spanish lingo, I’ll start watching baseball again. Gave up my season tix about 10 years ago (the year the Orioles could have started all Spanish-speaking players…) and haven’t looked back.

    I would like to like baseball again, but they’ll have to woo me back…

  • Anonymous

    Yes the game has fewer Afro-Americans, but plenty of minorities. No need to claim discrimination, unless its specific to Afro-Americans.

    Pro baseball is a hugely competitive sport, the owners will play anyone who gives them an edge. That currently appears to be Cubans and Dominicans. Get competitive or get out of the way. In baseball, the fans won’t tolerate affirmative action ringers for world-class talent. In New York you’d get booed off the field.

  • Anonymous

    Good. Let Baseball lose its allure. Let them all stop coming and playing and we’ll have maybe one more sport besides Hockey in which we don’t have to look at their ugly, obnoxious faces and their disgusting pongid behavior.

    Damn them all to Hell!

  • Anonymoose

    Just so you know, the predominance of Afro-Caribbean and Latin American players in MLB is due lower player development costs abroad. Is that a surprise?

    Many American born teenage athletes, some of them black, would like to have more baseball opportunities, but they do not exist in America. Here, for the largest part, you make your high school team or your career is over. We do not have, and cannot have, the kind of for profit adolescent baseball academies that develop Latin and Caribbean players.

  • Benjamin

    Ive been a baseball fan for over thirty years now. I love that there are fewer blacks involved wether they are playing or watching. Blacks ruin everything. I gave up on basketball and football years ago because I cant bear to watch a bunch of low class players and thier pathetic antics and whining. Now if we could just get rid of all the ‘latino’ guys as well I’d be happy.

  • White, Jewish, and Proud

    Go to a baseball game and you’ll meet some of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet.

    Because they’re overwhelmingly White.

  • Blaak Obongo

    And just exactly who regards this as a “crisis?” Or even a problem?

    Regardless of how many of the Ruling Elites are sweating bullets over the number of black baseballers, I say “good.” And I’m not even a sports fan.

  • The Incredible White Machine

    To Detroit WASP –

    maybe its a good idea to hire more blacks for basketball teams, it may keep the thugs at the games so we’ll have a better sense of stability and peace walking the streets of these black filled cities.

  • flyingtiger

    Blacks are too busy going to the Opera or museums to care about baseball anymore.

  • Jim

    Great! Now us white loyalists will have something more to watch than just hockey or NASCAR!!

  • Shibumi

    The reason there are few black fans at all professional sporting events is because you usually have to pay cash to get in. They don’t accept TANF/EBT. Though it is remarkable how many of the scalpers outside the stadiums are black, and how many of those tickets are forged. I don’t find any of this surprising, do you?

  • Howard W. Campbell

    “Former Tigers center fielder Curtis Granderson, for instance, challenged his Yankees teammates to find more than 10-15 black fans in the stands.”

    How many of those 10 – 15 are there because they know other blacks will not attend? It is almost like spending an evening in an all white suburb where the only noise (after 9:00 on school nights) is crickets chirping.

    This is why I am more than happy to take my kids to baseball games. The minority attendance at the local stadium is generally in the 2% range.

  • Cousin Charlie from TN

    This is not news at all. Been true for decades. Major league baseball has been around longer than most governments in the world, and has a vast amount of lore and tradition. “Celebrating” like black football or other sport players constantly do is sure to result in a pitch to the body sooner or later. So the sport is pegged as a “white” thing.

    Rickey Henderson has to be the “blackest” baseball superstar ever, yet he’s mostly remembered fondly by the white fans of the numerous teams he played for. Rickey did that black stuff, like the snap catch, etc., yet he played his ssa off.

  • Anonymous

    “We’re now supposed to celebrate April 15 as a national holy day because of Jackie Robinson. However, Yahoo Sports, on the 60th anniversary (2007) of the Sacred Event, re-published some game accounts from the major city and national newspapers, and wire services. Jackie Robinson’s “integration” of the major leagues was (A) barely mentioned, and (B) mentioned at the bottom, of most of the articles. The New York Post referred to him as a “colored boy” — A wee lad of 28, for sure. Funny, for something so holy and sacred and ground-breaking, people didn’t see it at the time.”

    April 15 too me represents a celebration of my being separated from my hard earned money in order to help support Jackie’s homies and their violent, atrocious behavior.

  • Mr. Met

    They don’t have money to buy the equipment? What do you need-a Glove? Yet, they all play football. Football requires much more equipment. Why isn’t it considered a “crisis” that there are so few Whites in the NBA?

    I agree with the poster who observed that Blacks, for the most part, are not temperamentally suited for baseball. Baseball players are more gritty, less glamorous, and due to the nature of the sport, they have to be less egocentric. You have to wait your turn to get an “At-Bat.” The rest of the time requires them to sit, watch, and analyze

  • Anonymous

    Again, the article fails to point how the overall percentage of Blacks, regardless of origin, in MLB–and the number is in excess of 50%. And since Black males comprise about 6.5% percent of the U.S. population, they are over-represented in MLB by a significant number if they comprise 8.5% of MLB rosters.

    The foreign Blacks who are recruited by MLB come from much poorer circumstances than the American Blacks do–they play on dirt fields, no gloves, a raggedy ball–and yet they overcome all that and still develop the skills. So Black American kids don’t have some “economic” excuse as to why they aren’t more involved in baseball.

    I think it all comes down to the patience and discipline that baseball demands compared to basketball and football, which rely more on raw athletic ability, especially at the lower levels. Caribbean Blacks don’t have the options of football and basketball, so they focus completely on baseball as their ticket out.

  • Anonymous

    The love of baseball and the success of athletes south of our border just means more immigrants. So baseball is good for blacks. More racially aggrieved pillagers will come here helping make color the norm. Samuel Francis once claimed aggression plus submission ends up in annihilation.

  • Scott of the Arctic

    Baseball cannot significantly change the game in order to make it more “thug friendly” without changing it so much that it would be unrecognizable as baseball.

    But, make no mistake. Baseball is as anti-white as the NFL and NBA. That is why baseball’s solution is to recruit as many “latin” american players as possible. Some “latins” are black, but from the US black racist perspective, these guys don’t count as black.

    On TV, any praise for a white player who made an outstanding play or reaches a big milestone is muted, whereas when a “latin” or a rare black player makes the same kind of play or reaches the same kind of goal, the enthusiasm from the announcers is gushing and embarrassingly obvious. The different treatment given to Derek Jeter’s and Jim Thome’s achievements is a good example of this.

    “Abdul” is probably being sarcastic above, but to take the point seriously, he probably hasn’t yet visited the “caste football” site, obviously, to begin learning why blacks are actually overrepresented in these sports. It’s not because of ability or talent, and certainly not from hard work or dedication.

  • MAJ

    It’s one thing to write a story – it’s another to editorialize.

    Why is it “alarming” and a problem? Last I checked the game was doing okay.

    #9 is correct – it is not a black sport. It requires patience and team work and personal showboating is limited. It’s also too easy to get thrown out of a game and the excuses for failure and blame are limited.

    And don’t give me this “too expensive” nonsense. Cell phones and Nikes cost more than $45 – that doesn’t seem to be a problem with blacks. Besides, football requires much more expensive equipment.

    I’m glad baseball is generally a white sport. As for fans, it seems that most pro sports have only the occasional black family member or ” cousins” in the stands. Besides, any more and you get Oakland style thuggery.

    In the end, it’s entertainment for white people, nothing more. Basically, I see the NFL as a collection of overpaid tap dancers and the NBA an expensive minstrel show.

    Watching an occasional football game only reinforces my AR beliefs.

  • Anonymous

    I stopped watching sports in the mid 1980s. I guess I wanted to keep a LIFE!

    I also hated the black thuggery. I was to young at the time to make the bold connection that it was 60% of the reason I did not like pro sports…all the sick showboating, vulgarity, lack of dignity, etc.

    And it was way better then as opposed to now.

    How a WHITE MAN can sit on his butt and cheer black and mestizo thugs in anything is simply stupefying to me.

  • GW

    @ 2 Question Diversity:

    Good point about Torii Hunter and Vlad Guerrero. American blacks in the majors hate the fact that dark-skinned players from the Dominican don’t feel any solidarity to them when compared to white Americans. Dominicans relate close to fellow Dominican and other Spanish-speaking players. The whole “black vs. white” racial past we have in America is foreign to their way of thinking–and the language barrier is also important.

    So, we have American black baseball players, all of them cocky, arrogant, overrated, etc. doing what blacks do best–complain. They unnecessarily begin petty fights with well-mannered teammates (Guerrero), or ask their fellow players about the racial makeup in the crowd.

  • BannerRWB

    34 – “Again, the article fails to point how the overall percentage of Blacks, regardless of origin, in MLB—and the number is in excess of 50%. And since Black males comprise about 6.5% percent of the U.S. population, they are over-represented in MLB by a significant number if they comprise 8.5% of MLB rosters.” – In order to use these percentages, we would have to say that women need to be 50% of MLB players. If men make up ALL the MLB players, then Blacks make up ~13% of the eligible population.

  • Dave

    “Baseball experts say inner-city baseball has been hurt by the sluggish economy. The money just hasn’t been there to buy equipment.”

    No, the U.S. inner cities aren’t prospering like the Dominican inner cities where the residents can afford new gloves, wooden bats, catcher’s mitts, batting cages, baseball fields with artificial lighting, ect.

  • Anonymous

    34 — Anonymous at 9:09 AM on September 2:

    I could care less about the Caribbean blacks and their “discipline” etc. etc. It is their ticket all right…to live here and eventually bring in all their family members. Is it worth it? NO!! Let them have their own teams in their own land and play against their own kind. Like Africans.

  • Anonymous

    Pro baseball is a hugely competitive sport, the owners will play anyone who gives them an edge. That currently appears to be Cubans and Dominicans. Get competitive or get out of the way. In baseball, the fans won’t tolerate affirmative action ringers for world-class talent. In New York you’d get booed off the field.

    ——————————————————————

    Yep, the owners……just like our corporate GLOBALIST one worlders! Anything for a profit! I wish they would quit calling any of these “sports” games American anything! Most are not even American and I consider Whites only as true Americans. End of story.

  • Question Diversity

    http://goo.gl/bpZtG

    To add to my comment above, here is a picture of Messrs. Hunter and Guerrero side-by-side. Can you tell which one is which? Yet, one of these two says the other isn’t authentically black. To me, at quick glance, they look like identical twins, and at long glance, blood brothers by the same two parents.

  • Anonymous

    BannerRWB wrote:

    “If men make up ALL the MLB players, then Blacks make up ~13% of the eligible population.”

    Exactly, and now you understand the absurdity of all quotas when analyzing “equality”. Statistics always serve a political agenda. After all, why are people so obsessed that American-born Blacks are potentially under-represented in MLB when women, another Marxist oppressed category, is completely absent? Where’s the outrage?

    Why doesn’t the MLB recruit left-handed, one-legged Cherokees? What percentage of the population do they represent? And why aren’t they represented in professional sports? Where does this insanity end?

  • rjf101

    What about the NBA? Whites make up 66% of America’s population, and only 22% of NBA players. And over half of the white players are foreigners.

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