Happy #42 Day, You Vile Baseball Loving Racists!
Today, Major League Baseball celebrates Jackie Robinson, who debuted for my Dodgers as the squared off against the Boston Braves. But, see, for several years there has been a Big Concern, and USA Today makes sure you know that baseball is raaaaacist. The article starts out by describing a vile letter sent the Atlanta Braves front office regarding Hank Aaron, with hardcore racist (not raaaaacist) language. Hey, there are jackasses of all stripes in the world. That’s not defending the letter, but just noting. Then we move to
On a day where Major League Baseball celebrates Robinson, who broke the color barrier on April 15, 1947 in one of the most momentous achievements of the Civil Rights movement, we have these letters to remind us of the racial hatred that still exists in this society.
As for the sport itself, the evidence mounts that Robinson’s game, for a myriad of complicated reasons, is not the game of choice for African-Americans.
Major League Baseball, which will honor Robinson once again today by having every player wear No. 42, has the lowest percentage of African-Americans in uniform since 1958.
The African-American population in baseball is virtually unchanged from a year ago at 7.8%, according to USA TODAY Sport’s survey of opening-day rosters and disabled lists.
There are 67 black players in the major leagues, with three teams not represented by a single African-American player – the San Francisco Giants, Arizona Diamondbacks and St. Louis Cardinals. It’s a dramatic change from 1972-1996, when African Americans represented at least 16% of the game’s players, according to Mark Armour of the Society of Baseball Research (SABR) – with a high of 18.7% in 1981.
Could it be that Black youth isn’t interested in playing baseball? Supposedly, 78% of NBA players are Black, with only 17% white, 4% Latino, and 1% Asian. Is it racist that there are no white cornerbacks in the NFL? How about that hockey is primarily a white man’s game? No. You can’t force people to play a game. MLB is attempting to increase the numbers by hitting the urban areas, but, perhaps Black youth are more interested in playing basketball and football.
There are other things to consider: for opening day 2013, over 28% of MLB players were foreign born. 27.3% were of Latino background. The percent of Asians is increasing. Yet, less than 4% are Canadian, Asian, or European. Perhaps they aren’t that interested in playing baseball? Interestingly, many of the players being considered Latino are of African descent, but not counted as Black.
Perhaps it is because baseball has “become a bastion of the rich“? Who knows? It’s not racism, because no one is stopping Black players from playing because of their skin color. That would be racism. Blacks not playing baseball themselves is a personal choice, not racism.
“To make the game as diverse as it is,” Manuel said, “we kind of strayed a bit (at) home. We’ve got to get it back home. We did not take advantage of what we did in my generation. We did not see it as a serious issue until it was too late.
“Now, we’re staying with this thing, I think you’ll see a turnaround. I really believe change is coming.”
You can’t force kids to play, just like you can’t force Americans to love soccer. When Hank Aaron trotted out his theory that every Republican opposes Obama because they’re racists, that was guaranteed to bring out the real racists. But Aaron’s statement was itself racist.
Anyhow, there are lots of reasons why Blacks might not play baseball. But, it is not racism. The race-hustlers can’t help themselves in ginning up a kerfuffle, though.
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No argument from me on the top three:: Cy Young, Gretzky, and Ripken. Cross-posted from Newmark’s Door.
It’s a tough list. Buckner booting the ball is only 12th.
Research done at my university, NC State, confirms what the Wizard of Westwood always taught:: use the glass.